Innocent Spouse Relief

Solely because you signed a jointly filed tax return with your ex-spouse, the IRS will attempt to hold you responsible for any tax, interest and penalties owed regardless of whether you had any control over or knowledge of the family finances. In many marriages, a more business savy spouse who is the primary breadwinner may exercise complete control over all major financial decisions and may take unwise risks or may outright act fraudulently unbeknown to the innocent spouse. Amidst a tax dispute or IRS allegation of fraud, the innocent spouse will likely also be the subject of aggressive IRS collection activity, including a wage garnishment, attachment of a bank account, or an IRS tax lien and subsequent IRS tax levy. Exacerbating the situation, the other spouse may have already filed for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in order to discharge the tax debt.

A Denver bankruptcy and tax lawyer, who holds a Master's Degree in Taxation, attorney David M. Serafin has successfully represented numerous individuals in Colorado in requesting Innocent Spouse Relief under Section 6015 of the Internal Revenue Code in which the IRS fully or partially abates tax, interest and penalties. In our most notable Innocent Spouse Relief matter, we negotiated with the IRS to abate over $130,000 of taxes and release an IRS tax levy on the taxpayer's house.

Any IRS collection activity will stop when an Innocent Spouse Relief claim is filed. Innocent Spouse Relief will be granted in situations whereby it would be unfair to hold both spouses liability for the act of one spouse who filed a fraudulent tax return. Although one factor is not dispositive, the IRS will examine the following factors under Section 6015 in determining whether Innocent Spouse Relief is appropriate for the aggrieved ex-spouse:

  • Imposition of the tax liability, including interest and penalties, would impose economic hardship (chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy is strong evidence of economic hardship),
  • The aggrieved spouse neither knew nor should have known of the improper activity,
  • Earned income from gambling or by illegal means,
  • Whether the spouse underreported taxable income or overstated tax deductions,
  • The respective education levels and level of business acumen of each spouse,
  • Any history of physical or emotional abuse,
  • Whether the aggrieved spouse's signature was forged,
  • Any financial benefit the aggrieved spouse received from the other spouse's fraud, and
  • Whether the spouses were physically or legally separated, or divorced, at during the tax year in question or at the time the Innocent Spouse Relief petition was filed.

Call the Law Office of David M. Serafin at (303) 862-9124 for help if believe the IRS is unjustified in collecting a tax debt against you and if you believe Innocent Spouse Relief may be warranted. An experienced tax attorney based in Denver, Colorado, David M. Serafin will employ his extensive knowledge of the IRS tax laws to negotiate aggressively with the IRS in protecting your rights and in reducing or outright eliminating your tax debt.

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