The unfortunate reality for some D.C. residents is that it is possible to be accountable for a spouse’s tax misdeeds. No one should have to face the tax penalties – and potentially criminal exposure – that stem from the poor choices or mistakes of a spouse. Thankfully, the law provides you with options to release you from liability. A seasoned IRS collections attorney could help you take advantage of something known as innocent spouse relief.
If you qualify for this relief, you could avoid the consequences stemming from your partner’s tax fraud or failure to disclose. This allows you to avoid personal responsibility for the fees, taxes, and penalties accrued due to their actions. Let a Washington DC innocent spouse relief lawyer help you determine if you qualify for this relief.
If a person has filed a joint tax return with their spouse, then they are jointly on the hook for any fines, fees, back taxes, or penalties that result from that return. For a spouse who is entirely innocent of any fraud, unreported income, or incorrect deductions, this is an unfair situation which they should not have to be involved with.
If a couple that files jointly is facing penalties or an investigation from the IRS, it could result in more than just fines and fees. The IRS could take a number of actions designed to collect the delinquent taxes that are currently owed. The government could also pursue enforcement by levying bank accounts or placing a lien on the family home. An innocent taxpayer could even face wage garnishment based on the tax issues caused by their partner.
Relief for innocent spouses is only necessary because of the shared responsibility that comes with a joint tax return. In many situations where this kind of relief is necessary, the couple is divorced or in the process of divorcing, although this is not always the case.
In this situation, a Washington DC attorney could help an innocent spouse seek relief from penalties. If the innocent spouse successfully proves they were unaware of the tax issues present on their returns, it could be possible to convince the IRS not to hold those penalties against the innocent spouse. These penalties could include liens, levies, penalties, fees, interest, and back taxes. Innocent spouse relief is one of the ways that a person could receive full tax forgiveness on their joint filings.
There are specific criteria for innocent spouse relief and not everyone will qualify. The most important factor is that the applicant was unaware of the wrongdoing of their spouse. If the person seeking relief was intimately involved in the activities listed or unlisted erroneously, or they have an educational background that would make it likely that they knew of the errors, then relief will be difficult to obtain.
An innocent spouse must establish that an error—intentional or not—on their joint return led to a tax underpayment. Next, they must show that this underpayment occurred without their knowledge and that they did not have reason to know of it. Relief must be sought no more than two years from the date of receiving notice from the IRS of the collection action, so it is in a taxpayer’s best interest to reach out to a Washington DC innocent spouse relief attorney as soon as possible.
If you recently learned that the IRS is pursuing a collection action based on an error in your joint filing caused by your spouse, you might be entitled to relief. Innocent spouse relief could be your best chance to secure a reprieve from an error that you did not cause. Let a Washington DC innocent spouse relief lawyer help you protect your legal rights. Call us to schedule a confidential consultation.
Pontius Tax Law, PLLC is a tax law firm that strives to resolve sensitive tax problems through trust, dedication and value. The law firm was founded by John Pontius with offices in Washington, DC, Rockville, MD, Bethesda, MD, Vienna, VA, and Alexandria, VA. Mr. Pontius represents individual and business clients with sensitive and serious tax matters before the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities. His client base is local, national, and international.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Pontius has represented businesses and individuals with complex tax issues in the following areas: FBAR examinations, offshore and domestic disclosures, FATCA, FIRPTA, tax planning, unfiled tax returns, release of tax liens and levies, trust fund recovery penalty, IRS and state audit examinations, as well as appeals, penalty abatement, U.S. Tax Court litigation, along with defense of tax fraud and evasion. If you require assistance from a tax lawyer, contact Mr. Pontius to discuss your situation.