Innocent Spouse Relief
Maryland Tax Lawyers - Help for those seeking Innocent Spouse Relief in Baltimore, Annapolis & Washington DC area.
Innocent spouse relief is a very viable remedy for spouses facing unjust tax liability. The Baltimore tax attorneys at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg can help those innocent spouses fight for absolution from tax debt when they meet certain criteria.
Our expertise is not limited to the plight of innocent spouses. We are legal experts, public speakers, and tax specialists who have been quoted in newspapers like the Baltimore Business Journal and other reputable local media. You are in good hands when you seek counsel from our knowledgeable and compassionate professionals.
Tax Relief for Requesting Spouses
The law states that taxpayers who file a joint return are both liable for the tax due on the return, “regardless of whether the tax is reported on the return or assessed following an audit.”
However, there are several situations where one may be eligible for relief:
- The taxes owed belong to your ex-spouse. Perhaps your former spouse was self-employed, you were not working at that time, or there were assets held in your spouse’s name only.
- You are no longer married to that spouse.
- You believed your spouse would pay the taxes due at that time, but – unbeknownst to you – the taxes went unpaid.
- If there was a tax audit, you did not know about the items changed in the audit that resulted in the understatement of tax liability.
- If you would suffer from severe financial hardship – and be unable to pay for basic living expenses like food, shelter, and clothing – should you be required to pay the tax.
- You did not significantly benefit from the unpaid taxes in any way.
- You suffered abuse during your marriage.
According to IRS Publication 971, you have two years from the discovery of your tax liability to petition for relief. However, a good Maryland tax attorney can find many reasons for extension, so do not give up hope based solely on a missed deadline. It’s always best to call us to explore all your options first.
Grounds for Innocent Spouse Relief
Spouse relief requests were one of the “most litigated tax issues” in federal courts in 2011. According to USA Today, the IRS was receiving more than 50,000 applications a year, but granting less than half of them.
The following year, the IRS released new proposed guidelines to make it easier for qualifying spouses to seek the relief they needed if they were, in fact, innocent victims along for the ride with an unscrupulous spouse.
However, it can still be tricky to win an innocent spouse case on your own. First, you must prove that you didn’t know that the taxes went unpaid. Secondly, you must prove that you did not participate in the activities that led to the unpaid taxes. Lastly, you must prove that you did not benefit from the nonpayment of taxes.
Furthermore, it is commonplace for people to make errors that hurt your chances of winning. Many applicants mistakenly seek relief for a year in which they didn’t owe taxes. Other times, they do not provide enough detail about their marital relationship to sway a tax court in their favor.
Our sympathetic Baltimore tax attorneys can help you create the right script and provide the necessary information to mount a successful case. If you happen to be rejected the first time, we can help you write an appeal. In our experience, appeals often find their way toward a successful resolution.
Procedural Requirements and Appeals for Tax Relief
You can get the process started by filing IRS Form 8857, which we can help you do. Only one form is necessary even if you are requesting innocent spouse relief for more than one year. In addition to the completed form, you will also need to attach a memorandum explaining why you believe you qualify for relief. You must attach supporting exhibits to substantiate your claims.
The IRS will investigate your claim and attempt to contact your former spouse to learn more. In cases of domestic abuse, there are several measures put in place to protect you from harm. If you are concerned about this aspect of the law, speaking with a qualified tax attorney can help put your mind at ease.
A denial isn’t the end of the road. Taxpayers have 90 days to petition the U.S. Tax Court for a review. You may also request a review if you have not received a final determination from the IRS within six months of filing Form 8857. Though the IRS determination is final, the U.S. Tax Court may still overrule the decision made by the IRS.
Rosenberg Martin Greenberg help innocent spouses every step of the way. We’ll make sure you are well-informed of the process as it’s going along and fully understand when to expect answers.
Baltimore Tax Lawyers Want to Help Innocent Spouses
Consulting with competent and experienced counsel can make all the difference in the world for an innocent spouse relief petition. Rosenberg Martin Greenberg will assist you in determining which types of relief are available to you, what facts best support your claim, and what might be the best way to present those facts in pursuit of relief.
We know the impact of stress and anxiety a tax liability can cause, especially when you would like nothing more than to put the past behind you and move on. Let our certified tax professionals remove some of the burden from your shoulders and fight for your right to absolution from unfair liability.
If you are seeking assistance with an innocent spouse or equitable relief claim, please contact Brian Crepeau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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