New IRS Publication On Innocent Spouse

Last month, the IRS released a revised Publication 971 for those seeking innocent spouse relief. Other articles in this blog on innocent spouse relief are: “Who Is An Innocent Spouse In California?“, “Innocent Spouse Made Easier” and “California Taxpayers: Innocent Spouse Relief“.

The revised IRS Publication provides this introduction:

When you file a joint income tax return, the law makes both you and your spouse responsible for the entire tax liability. This is called joint and several liability. Joint and several liability applies not only to the tax liability you show on the return but also to any additional tax liability the IRS determines to be due, even if the additional tax is due to income, deductions, or credits of your spouse or former spouse. You remain jointly and severally liable for the taxes, and the IRS still can collect from you, even if you later divorce and the divorce decree states that your former spouse will be solely responsible for the tax. In some cases, a spouse (or former spouse) will be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return.

Three types of relief are available to married persons who filed joint returns.

1. Innocent spouse relief.
2. Separation of liability relief.
3. Equitable relief.

Married persons who did not file joint returns, but who live in community property states [like California], may also qualify for relief. See Community Property Laws, later. This publication explains these types of relief, who may qualify for them, and how to get them. You can also use the Innocent Spouse Tax Relief Eligibility Explorer at to see if you qualify for innocent spouse relief.

If you have a tax problem and believe that you may be entitled to innocent spouse relief, and wish to have a California tax lawyer represent you please contact Mitchell A. Port.