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Innocent Spouse Relief Lawyers in St. Louis Defending You From Tax Deficiencies

Once a couple is married, filing taxes jointly seems the logical option. Filing jointly often comes with tax advantages, like a lower tax rate, more available exemptions, and increased deductions. But if your spouse or ex-spouse made mistakes or intentional errors on your joint tax return, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be coming after you to make up the difference.

When you and your spouse file a joint return, you are both responsible for the tax and any penalties due. This is still true even if you later divorce if a divorce decree states that your spouse is responsible for the taxes or if your spouse earned all the income that year.

Fortunately, an experienced innocent spouse relief lawyer can help you with your tax problems. At The Law Firm of Lance R. Drury, P.C., we are dedicated to advocating for our clients and assisting them with complex tax matters, including innocent spouse relief. For a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you, call one of our offices:
Ste. Genevieve, (573)-883-3056; St. Louis, (314)-260-6120; Nashville, (615)-733-8168; and San Antonio, (726)-202-1300.

What is Required for Innocent Spouse Relief?

The IRS created innocent spouse relief to protect individuals from paying additional taxes if they did not know about the errors on their tax returns. However, there are strict guidelines around who is eligible for this relief.

You may be eligible for innocent spouse relief if:

  • You filed a joint tax return with your spouse
  • Your taxes were understated due to errors
  • You had no knowledge of the errors
  • You live in a community property state

Errors that typically cause understated taxes include unreported income, incorrect values given for assets, and incorrect deductions or credits.

What Are the Additional Types of Spouse Relief?

If you apply for innocent spouse relief through the IRS, they will automatically consider your eligibility for two additional types of spouse relief.

The additional types of spouse relief include:

Separation of Liability Relief

If your joint tax return was done in error, but you are divorced, separated, or no longer living with your spouse, you may only have to pay your share of the understated taxes. However, separation of liability cannot give you a refund for any taxes that you’ve already paid.

Equitable Relief

If you are not eligible for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, the IRS may still give you relief from your taxes if it would be unfair to hold you responsible. This depends on all the facts and circumstances of your case. If you are attempting to get equitable relief, having a professional tax attorney on your side is the best way forward.

Who is Ineligible for Innocent Spouse Relief?

The IRS has strict rules and regulations about who is eligible for relief.

Therefore, you may not be eligible for innocent spouse relief if:

  • You signed a closing agreement with the IRS covering the same taxes
  • You signed an offer in compromise with the IRS
  • You participated in a related court proceeding and did not ask for relief
  • A court made a final decision denying you relief

Similarly, you cannot apply for innocent spouse relief if you knew the errors on your return. In this case, having knowledge of errors is defined as:

  • Knowledge of your spouse’s unreported income
  • Knowledge of your spouse deducting false or inflated expenses
  • Knowledge of facts that made a deduction or credit unallowable

However, the IRS does make an exception for victims of domestic abuse, even if you did know about the errors. This is true if you signed the joint return because you were threatened or you did not challenge the items on the return because of fear.

What Should I Do if I Receive a Notice that I Owe Taxes?

If you receive a notice on a joint tax return, read the instructions in the letter carefully. They will detail how much money you owe and when it is due. The instructions may also tell you how to sign up for a payment plan or how long you have to pay your total balance until interest starts accruing.

When you learn of the taxes due, contact an innocent spouse relief lawyer on our team. Our experienced attorneys will help walk you through the notice and help you fill out the innocent spouse relief form so you can request it as soon as possible.

How do I Request Relief?

Requesting innocent spouse relief can be done by filling out a request form on the IRS website. The form will ask you for information about you, your spouse, your taxes, and why you believe you should receive innocent spouse relief. It’s essential to fill this form out correctly and to the best of your abilities. Once you submit this form, you will be considered for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, and equitable relief.

Filling out this form is the first step in negotiating with the IRS and getting out of fines and penalties. With a professional tax attorney on your side, you can fill this form out to the best of your abilities and make sure you have the best chance of receiving innocent spouse relief.

Should I Hire an Innocent Spouse Relief Lawyer?

Finding out that you owe taxes to the IRS is a frustrating experience, especially if you weren’t aware of the errors on your joint tax return. Negotiating with the IRS can be a lengthy process and can add a lot of stress to your already difficult circumstances.

Our team at The Law Firm of Lance R. Drury, P.C. is here to help. We can assist you in filing for innocent spouse relief and explaining your circumstances to the IRS to avoid hefty fees and penalties. For a free consultation, call one of our offices today:
Ste. Genevieve, (573)-883-3056; St. Louis, (314)-260-6120; Nashville, (615)-733-8168; and San Antonio, (726)-202-1300.