Figure A. Do You Qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief?

Summary: This flowchart determines if the taxpayer (who filed a joint return) qualifies for innocent spouse relief for payment of understatement of taxes due.

Start

This is the beginning of the flowchart.

Decision (1)

Did you file a joint return for the year you want relief?

Process (a)

You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief but you may qualify for relief from liability arising from community property laws. See Community Property Laws earlier.

Decision (2)

Will you file Form 8857 no later than 2 years after the fist IRS attempt to collect the tax from you that occurs after July 22, 1998?
Footnote: Collection activities that may start the 2-year period are described earlier under How To Request Relief.

Process (d)

You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief but you may qualify for equitable relief. See Figure C later.

Decision (3)

Does your joint return have an understated tax due to erroneous items of your spouse?

Process (b)

You do not qualify for innocent spouse relief; go to Figure B.

Decision (4)

At the time you signed the joint return, did you know or have reason to know that there was an understated tax?
Footnote: If Yes, you may qualify for partial relief if, at the time you filed your return, you knew or had reason to know of only a portion of an erroneous item.

Decision (5)

Are you able to show, based on the facts and circumstances, that it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated tax?

Process (c)

You may qualify for innocent spouse relief.

End

This is the end of the flowchart.

Close Window