There are several primary differences between innocent spouse relief and injured spouse relief. An innocent spouse can get relief from the IRS when their spouse makes errors and false reports on a join tax return. On the other hand, an injured spouse is able to receive relief when the IRS holds a joint refund as a way of satisfying debts of their spouse. There are definite benefits to be aware of. While you may not qualify for one, there is a good chance that you could take full advantage of the other.
Injured Spouse Relief
If you believe that you qualify for injured spouse relief you need to follow the steps outlined by the IRS.
1. Make sure that you actually filed a joint return. If you did not, you are unable to use injured spouse relief as a way of bettering your situation.
2. Find out of the IRS has withheld a tax refund in the past, or plans to do so in the future, because your spouse has missed payments on items such as student loans or child support. If you are unsure of where you stand, do not hesitate to contact the IRS for further information on your account.
3. Download Form 8379 from the IRS website. This is the form that you need if you are going to apply for injured spouse relief.
4. On part two of the form, you will need to allocate all income, deductions, and credits between you and your spouse. This is the information that the IRS needs in order to give you the portion of the refund that you deserve.
5. Send the completed form to the IRS. You can send this along with your completed return, or separately if you have already filed.
Innocent Spouse Relief
Those who are requesting innocent spouse relief should follow these steps.
1. Did you file a joint return? This is the number one qualifier. If you didn't, you are unable to request innocent spouse relief.
2. Make sure that your spouse improperly and inaccurately reported items, which in turn led to an understatement.
3. Did you know that your spouse was including erroneous information when you signed the return? If so, you are not going to qualify for innocent spouse relief. Only those who were not aware of these intentional errors are eligible.
4. Download Form 8857 from the IRS website. This form needs to be completed and forwarded to the IRS immediately. Make sure you include honest, accurate information.
Hire a Professional
Even though it may seem cut and dry, there are times when you may be confused about whether you should file for innocent spouse relief or injured spouse relief. Rather than guess and hope you are right, hire a tax professional to answer your questions and guide you through the process.
All in all, there are several key differences between innocent spouse relief and injured spouse relief. Are you in position to take advantage of either one of these relief options?