Are you responsible for your spouse’s tax errors?

After a fair divorce settlement, you may feel a sense of relief. Unfortunately, the payment does not permanently mark the end of the conflict. Even if the court determines your spouse has the majority of tax responsibility, if he or she makes an error on the tax paperwork, you could still receive a notice from the IRS demanding payment.

Fortunately, the IRS has options for those who want relief from their former spouse’s tax bill. After all, if your spouse underreported his or her taxes, you may not be to blame.

Separation of liability relief

If you want to qualify for separation of liability, you and your spouse cannot be members of the same household for 12 months before requesting relief. You must also have a legal divorce or separation from your ex before requesting relief. As long as you do not know the items that caused the deficiency, you can seek relief.

Equitable relief

In some cases, you may be able to prove that you do not deserve to pay for your spouse’s deficiency or underpayment. Often, spouses who face financial abuse can ask for equitable relief.

Innocent spouse relief

You might qualify for innocent spouse relief if your spouse failed to report income. To qualify for innocent spouse relief, you must prove that you filed a joint return but that your ex has full responsibility for the errors. To show your innocence, you have to establish that you did not have any knowledge of the error and no reason to think that your spouse did not report his or her full income.

IRS relief often occurs due to unfair debt.