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Efile free Publication 971 - Additional Material Table of Contents How To Get Tax HelpLow Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs). Efile free Questions & AnswersThis section answers questions commonly asked by taxpayers about innocent spouse relief. Efile free . Efile free What is joint and several liability? . Efile free How can I get relief from joint and several liability? . Efile free What are the rules for innocent spouse relief? . Efile free What are erroneous items? . Efile free What is an understated tax? . Efile free Will I qualify for innocent spouse relief in any situation where there is an understated tax? . Efile free What are the rules for separation of liability relief? . Efile free Why would a request for separation of liability relief be denied? . Efile free What are the rules for equitable relief? . Efile free How do state community property laws affect my ability to qualify for relief? . Efile free How do I request relief? . Efile free When should I file Form 8857? . Efile free Where should I file Form 8857? . Efile free I am currently undergoing an examination of my return. Efile free How do I request innocent spouse relief? . Efile free What if the IRS has given me notice that it will levy my account for the tax liability and I decide to request relief? . Efile free What is injured spouse relief? . Efile free What is joint and several liability? When you file a joint income tax return, the law makes both you and your spouse responsible for the entire tax liability. Efile free This is called joint and several liability. Efile free 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 the income, deductions, or credits of your spouse or former spouse. Efile free You remain jointly and severally liable for 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. Efile free There are three types of relief for filers of joint returns: “innocent spouse relief,” “separation of liability relief,” and “equitable relief. Efile free ” Each type has different requirements. Efile free They are explained separately below. Efile free To qualify for innocent spouse relief, you must meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You must have filed a joint return which has an understated tax. Efile free The understated tax must be due to erroneous items of your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free You must establish that at the time you signed the joint return, you did not know, and had no reason to know, that there was an understated tax. Efile free Taking into account all of the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated tax. Efile free You must request relief within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Erroneous items are any deductions, credits, or bases that are incorrectly stated on the return, and any income that is not properly reported on the return. Efile free You have an understated tax if the IRS determined that your total tax should be more than the amount actually shown on your return. Efile free For example, you reported total tax on your 2008 return of $2,500. Efile free IRS determined in an audit of your 2008 return that the total tax should be $3,000. Efile free You have a $500 understated tax. Efile free No. Efile free There are many situations in which you may owe tax that is related to your spouse (or former spouse), but not be eligible for innocent spouse relief. Efile free For example, you and your spouse file a joint return on which you report $10,000 of income and deductions, but you knew that your spouse was not reporting $5,000 of dividends. Efile free You are not eligible for innocent spouse relief because you have knowledge of the understated tax. Efile free Under this type of relief, you allocate (separate) the understated tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return between you and your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free The understated tax allocated to you is generally the amount you are responsible for. Efile free To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and meet either of the following requirements at the time you file Form 8857. Efile free You are no longer married to, or are legally separated from, the spouse with whom you filed the joint return for which you are requesting relief. Efile free (Under this rule, you are no longer married if you are widowed. Efile free ) You were not a member of the same household as the spouse with whom you filed the joint return at any time during the 12-month period ending on the date you file Form 8857. Efile free In addition to the above requirements, you must file a Form 8857 within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Even if you meet the requirements listed earlier, a request for separation of liability relief will not be granted in the following situations. Efile free The IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) transferred assets to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free The IRS proves that at the time you signed your joint return, you had actual knowledge of any erroneous items giving rise to the deficiency that are allocable to your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) transferred property to you to avoid tax or the payment of tax. Efile free Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free How can I get relief from joint and several liability? There are three types of relief for filers of joint returns: “innocent spouse relief,” “separation of liability relief,” and “equitable relief. Efile free ” Each type has different requirements. Efile free They are explained separately below. Efile free To qualify for innocent spouse relief, you must meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You must have filed a joint return which has an understated tax. Efile free The understated tax must be due to erroneous items of your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free You must establish that at the time you signed the joint return, you did not know, and had no reason to know, that there was an understated tax. Efile free Taking into account all of the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated tax. Efile free You must request relief within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Erroneous items are any deductions, credits, or bases that are incorrectly stated on the return, and any income that is not properly reported on the return. Efile free You have an understated tax if the IRS determined that your total tax should be more than the amount actually shown on your return. Efile free For example, you reported total tax on your 2008 return of $2,500. Efile free IRS determined in an audit of your 2008 return that the total tax should be $3,000. Efile free You have a $500 understated tax. Efile free No. Efile free There are many situations in which you may owe tax that is related to your spouse (or former spouse), but not be eligible for innocent spouse relief. Efile free For example, you and your spouse file a joint return on which you report $10,000 of income and deductions, but you knew that your spouse was not reporting $5,000 of dividends. Efile free You are not eligible for innocent spouse relief because you have knowledge of the understated tax. Efile free Under this type of relief, you allocate (separate) the understated tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return between you and your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free The understated tax allocated to you is generally the amount you are responsible for. Efile free To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and meet either of the following requirements at the time you file Form 8857. Efile free You are no longer married to, or are legally separated from, the spouse with whom you filed the joint return for which you are requesting relief. Efile free (Under this rule, you are no longer married if you are widowed. Efile free ) You were not a member of the same household as the spouse with whom you filed the joint return at any time during the 12-month period ending on the date you file Form 8857. Efile free In addition to the above requirements, you must file a Form 8857 within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Even if you meet the requirements listed earlier, a request for separation of liability relief will not be granted in the following situations. Efile free The IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) transferred assets to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free The IRS proves that at the time you signed your joint return, you had actual knowledge of any erroneous items giving rise to the deficiency that are allocable to your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) transferred property to you to avoid tax or the payment of tax. Efile free Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free What are the rules for innocent spouse relief? To qualify for innocent spouse relief, you must meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You must have filed a joint return which has an understated tax. Efile free The understated tax must be due to erroneous items of your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free You must establish that at the time you signed the joint return, you did not know, and had no reason to know, that there was an understated tax. Efile free Taking into account all of the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated tax. Efile free You must request relief within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Erroneous items are any deductions, credits, or bases that are incorrectly stated on the return, and any income that is not properly reported on the return. Efile free You have an understated tax if the IRS determined that your total tax should be more than the amount actually shown on your return. Efile free For example, you reported total tax on your 2008 return of $2,500. Efile free IRS determined in an audit of your 2008 return that the total tax should be $3,000. Efile free You have a $500 understated tax. Efile free No. Efile free There are many situations in which you may owe tax that is related to your spouse (or former spouse), but not be eligible for innocent spouse relief. Efile free For example, you and your spouse file a joint return on which you report $10,000 of income and deductions, but you knew that your spouse was not reporting $5,000 of dividends. Efile free You are not eligible for innocent spouse relief because you have knowledge of the understated tax. Efile free Under this type of relief, you allocate (separate) the understated tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return between you and your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free The understated tax allocated to you is generally the amount you are responsible for. Efile free To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and meet either of the following requirements at the time you file Form 8857. Efile free You are no longer married to, or are legally separated from, the spouse with whom you filed the joint return for which you are requesting relief. Efile free (Under this rule, you are no longer married if you are widowed. Efile free ) You were not a member of the same household as the spouse with whom you filed the joint return at any time during the 12-month period ending on the date you file Form 8857. Efile free In addition to the above requirements, you must file a Form 8857 within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Even if you meet the requirements listed earlier, a request for separation of liability relief will not be granted in the following situations. Efile free The IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) transferred assets to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free The IRS proves that at the time you signed your joint return, you had actual knowledge of any erroneous items giving rise to the deficiency that are allocable to your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) transferred property to you to avoid tax or the payment of tax. Efile free Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free What are “erroneous items”? Erroneous items are any deductions, credits, or bases that are incorrectly stated on the return, and any income that is not properly reported on the return. Efile free You have an understated tax if the IRS determined that your total tax should be more than the amount actually shown on your return. Efile free For example, you reported total tax on your 2008 return of $2,500. Efile free IRS determined in an audit of your 2008 return that the total tax should be $3,000. Efile free You have a $500 understated tax. Efile free No. Efile free There are many situations in which you may owe tax that is related to your spouse (or former spouse), but not be eligible for innocent spouse relief. Efile free For example, you and your spouse file a joint return on which you report $10,000 of income and deductions, but you knew that your spouse was not reporting $5,000 of dividends. Efile free You are not eligible for innocent spouse relief because you have knowledge of the understated tax. Efile free Under this type of relief, you allocate (separate) the understated tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return between you and your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free The understated tax allocated to you is generally the amount you are responsible for. Efile free To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and meet either of the following requirements at the time you file Form 8857. Efile free You are no longer married to, or are legally separated from, the spouse with whom you filed the joint return for which you are requesting relief. Efile free (Under this rule, you are no longer married if you are widowed. Efile free ) You were not a member of the same household as the spouse with whom you filed the joint return at any time during the 12-month period ending on the date you file Form 8857. Efile free In addition to the above requirements, you must file a Form 8857 within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Even if you meet the requirements listed earlier, a request for separation of liability relief will not be granted in the following situations. Efile free The IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) transferred assets to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free The IRS proves that at the time you signed your joint return, you had actual knowledge of any erroneous items giving rise to the deficiency that are allocable to your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) transferred property to you to avoid tax or the payment of tax. Efile free Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free What is an “understated tax”? You have an understated tax if the IRS determined that your total tax should be more than the amount actually shown on your return. Efile free For example, you reported total tax on your 2008 return of $2,500. Efile free IRS determined in an audit of your 2008 return that the total tax should be $3,000. Efile free You have a $500 understated tax. Efile free No. Efile free There are many situations in which you may owe tax that is related to your spouse (or former spouse), but not be eligible for innocent spouse relief. Efile free For example, you and your spouse file a joint return on which you report $10,000 of income and deductions, but you knew that your spouse was not reporting $5,000 of dividends. Efile free You are not eligible for innocent spouse relief because you have knowledge of the understated tax. Efile free Under this type of relief, you allocate (separate) the understated tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return between you and your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free The understated tax allocated to you is generally the amount you are responsible for. Efile free To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and meet either of the following requirements at the time you file Form 8857. Efile free You are no longer married to, or are legally separated from, the spouse with whom you filed the joint return for which you are requesting relief. Efile free (Under this rule, you are no longer married if you are widowed. Efile free ) You were not a member of the same household as the spouse with whom you filed the joint return at any time during the 12-month period ending on the date you file Form 8857. Efile free In addition to the above requirements, you must file a Form 8857 within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Even if you meet the requirements listed earlier, a request for separation of liability relief will not be granted in the following situations. Efile free The IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) transferred assets to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free The IRS proves that at the time you signed your joint return, you had actual knowledge of any erroneous items giving rise to the deficiency that are allocable to your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) transferred property to you to avoid tax or the payment of tax. Efile free Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free Will I qualify for innocent spouse relief in any situation where there is an understated tax? No. Efile free There are many situations in which you may owe tax that is related to your spouse (or former spouse), but not be eligible for innocent spouse relief. Efile free For example, you and your spouse file a joint return on which you report $10,000 of income and deductions, but you knew that your spouse was not reporting $5,000 of dividends. Efile free You are not eligible for innocent spouse relief because you have knowledge of the understated tax. Efile free Under this type of relief, you allocate (separate) the understated tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return between you and your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free The understated tax allocated to you is generally the amount you are responsible for. Efile free To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and meet either of the following requirements at the time you file Form 8857. Efile free You are no longer married to, or are legally separated from, the spouse with whom you filed the joint return for which you are requesting relief. Efile free (Under this rule, you are no longer married if you are widowed. Efile free ) You were not a member of the same household as the spouse with whom you filed the joint return at any time during the 12-month period ending on the date you file Form 8857. Efile free In addition to the above requirements, you must file a Form 8857 within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Even if you meet the requirements listed earlier, a request for separation of liability relief will not be granted in the following situations. Efile free The IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) transferred assets to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free The IRS proves that at the time you signed your joint return, you had actual knowledge of any erroneous items giving rise to the deficiency that are allocable to your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) transferred property to you to avoid tax or the payment of tax. Efile free Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free What are the rules for separation of liability relief? Under this type of relief, you allocate (separate) the understated tax (plus interest and penalties) on your joint return between you and your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free The understated tax allocated to you is generally the amount you are responsible for. Efile free To qualify for separation of liability relief, you must have filed a joint return and meet either of the following requirements at the time you file Form 8857. Efile free You are no longer married to, or are legally separated from, the spouse with whom you filed the joint return for which you are requesting relief. Efile free (Under this rule, you are no longer married if you are widowed. Efile free ) You were not a member of the same household as the spouse with whom you filed the joint return at any time during the 12-month period ending on the date you file Form 8857. Efile free In addition to the above requirements, you must file a Form 8857 within 2 years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activity against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free Even if you meet the requirements listed earlier, a request for separation of liability relief will not be granted in the following situations. Efile free The IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) transferred assets to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free The IRS proves that at the time you signed your joint return, you had actual knowledge of any erroneous items giving rise to the deficiency that are allocable to your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) transferred property to you to avoid tax or the payment of tax. Efile free Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free Why would a request for separation of liability relief be denied? Even if you meet the requirements listed earlier, a request for separation of liability relief will not be granted in the following situations. Efile free The IRS proves that you and your spouse (or former spouse) transferred assets to one another as part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free The IRS proves that at the time you signed your joint return, you had actual knowledge of any erroneous items giving rise to the deficiency that are allocable to your spouse (or former spouse). Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) transferred property to you to avoid tax or the payment of tax. Efile free Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free What are the rules for equitable relief? Equitable relief is only available if you meet all of the following conditions. Efile free You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability relief, or relief from liability arising from community property law. Efile free You have an understated tax or underpaid tax. Efile free See Note later. Efile free You did not pay the tax. Efile free However, see Refunds , earlier, for exceptions. Efile free The IRS determines that it is unfair to hold you liable for the understated or underpaid tax taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Efile free You and your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer assets to one another as a part of a fraudulent scheme. Efile free Your spouse (or former spouse) did not transfer property to you for the main purpose of avoiding tax or the payment of tax. Efile free You did not file or fail to file your return with the intent to commit fraud. Efile free The income tax liability for which you seek relief is attributable to your spouse (or former spouse) with whom you filed the joint return. Efile free For exceptions to this condition, see item (8) under Conditions for Getting Equitable Relief , earlier. Efile free You timely file Form 8857 as explained earlier in Exception for equitable relief under How To Request Relief. Efile free Note. Efile free Unlike innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, if you qualify for equitable relief, you can also get relief from an underpaid tax. Efile free (An underpaid tax is tax that is properly shown on the return, but has not been paid. Efile free ) Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or resume collecting from you. Efile free The 10-year period will be increased by the amount of time your request for relief was pending plus 60 days. Efile free See Publication 594 for more information. Efile free Injured spouse relief is different from innocent spouse relief. Efile free When a joint return is filed and the refund is used to pay one spouse's past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support, or federal non-tax debt, such as a student loan, the other spouse may be considered an injured spouse. Efile free The injured spouse can get back his or her share of the joint overpayment using Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Efile free You are considered an injured spouse if: You are not legally obligated to pay the past-due amount, and You meet any of the following conditions: You made and reported tax payments (such as federal income tax withholding or estimated tax payments). Efile free You had earned income (such as wages, salaries, or self-employment income) and claimed the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit. Efile free You claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the health coverage tax credit or the refundable credit for prior year minimum tax. Efile free Note. Efile free If your residence was in a community property state at any time during the year, you may file Form 8379 even if only item (1) above applies. Efile free . Efile free How do state community property laws affect my ability to qualify for relief? Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Efile free Generally, community property laws require you to allocate community income and expenses equally between both spouses. Efile free However, community property laws are not taken into account in determining whether an item belongs to you or to your spouse (or former spouse) for purposes of requesting any relief from liability. Efile free      File Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, to ask the IRS for relief. Efile free You must file an additional Form 8857 if you are requesting relief for more than three years. Efile free If you are requesting innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief, file Form 8857 no later than two years after the date on which the IRS first began collection activities against you after July 22, 1998. Efile free If you are requesting equitable relief, see Exception for equitable relief. Efile free under How To Request Relief, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free If you are requesting relief from liability arising from community property law, see How and When To Request Relief under Community Property Laws, earlier, for when to file Form 8857. Efile free Use the address or fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free File Form 8857 at the address or send it to the fax number shown in the Instructions for Form 8857. Efile free Do not file it with the employee assigned to examine your return. Efile free Generally, the IRS has 10 years to collect an amount you owe. Efile free This is the collection statute of limitations. Efile free By law, the IRS is not allowed to collect from you after the 10-year period ends. Efile free If you request relief for any tax year, the IRS cannot collect from you for that year while your request is pending. Efile free But interest and penalties continue to accrue. Efile free Your request is generally considered pending from the date the IRS receives your Form 8857 until the date your request is resolved. Efile free This includes the time the Tax Court is considering your request. Efile free After your case is resolved, the IRS can begin or
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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 18-Feb-2014

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