IRS Adopts Common-Sense Approach to Innocent Spouse Relief

Posted July 26, 2011 in Uncategorized by Arthur Buono

It’s official. The IRS is loosening the time frame for some taxpayers to apply for "innocent spouse" relief. The move comes after months of pressure from official and unofficial taxpayer advocates.

  • Relief for joint tax liability for "innocent spouses"
  • IRS will consider applications for "equitable relief" beyond 2-year limit
  • Missing most deadlines means you’re out of court for good
  • Like this article? Share it with others using this link:


Deadlines Arbitrary but Necessary; Don’t Delay Seeking Advice


The change affects taxpayers – mainly women – who apply for "equitable relief" under the innocent spouse rules. In most cases these women have very good reasons, like domestic abuse or flat-out fraudulent husbands, for being unaware of the tax debt or unable to do anything about it. If your request for innocent spouse relief recently was denied as untimely, you should consider a new application.

Deadlines are common in life and especially law. Statutes of limitation and even principles like "laches" can keep you from pursuing an otherwise valid lawsuit. Limitations periods can be as long as 20 years in some real estate cases. Two years is common in most ordinary contract or personal injury cases. One year is common if you’ve been defamed. You may have as little as 180 days to file a federal discrimination claim. And you may have as little as 30 days to respond to something like a property tax notice.

You’ll never remember these and can even be tripped up if you think you know them. It’s human nature to procrastinate. That’s why it’s important to contact a lawyer for a look-see soon after you think there’s a legal problem at hand. This is one instance when time really is money. And missing one of these deadlines can cost you a bundle.

Related Apps for Your Smartphone*

iDonatedIt – Charitable donation tracking application. $2.99.
IRS2Go – Offers refund tracking and helpful tax information. Free.
Receipt Filer Lite – Expense tracking application. Free.
TurboTax – Offers several mobile apps, including a tax preparation app, a tax estimator and a refund tracker. Prices vary.

*Please note that these apps are for informational purposes only, and neither LexisNexis nor endorses these apps or accepts liability for their use.

Related Links: