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Family Law April 24, 2014
 
Family Law
 

The Two-Parent Consent Law for U.S. Passport Applications

In July 2001, the United States Department of State implemented a law regarding passport application procedures.  Under the Two-Parent Consent Law, as amended ...(more)

 

Special Tax Rules for Community Property

A number of states are "community property" states, meaning that they recognize the concept of community property law. Community property ...(more)

 

Citizenship of Children Born to Unmarried Parents of Different Nationalities

Children born out of wedlock outside the United States to one citizen parent and one noncitizen parent face different requirements ...(more)

 

Retirement Benefit Distribution Upon Divorce

Upon divorce, all debts, property and assets must be divided between the spouses according to applicable percentages set by state ...(more)

 

Family Law In The News

Restraining orders are vital for abuse victims

Leave child support legislation alone

How To Cope With Your Husband's Financial Threats During Divorce

Dad files $130M lawsuit after son in Utah is given up for adoption

Deschutes County piloting program for family law disputes

Innocent Spouse Relief For Tax Liability


Many married couples file joint tax returns to take advantage of certain benefits offered by this filing status. This may result in the unfortunate and unintended consequence of one spouse being held responsible for the underreporting of income by the other spouse. Even when there is a divorce decree stating that one spouse will be solely responsible for any amounts due on prior tax returns, the IRS may withhold a tax refund of the other spouse to satisfy the former spouse's tax obligation.
 
When a married couple files a joint tax return and penalties arise as a result of an underreporting of taxable income, the IRS will relieve one spouse from liability if that spouse can prove that he or she is "innocent" of any wrongdoing. In order for the an individual to obtain relief as an "innocent spouse," the following criteria must be met:
  1. The return filed must be a joint return, or, if the return was filed while living in a community property state, the return filed may be a "married filing separately" return
  2. At the time the return was filed, the individual believed the correct amount of tax was, or would be, paid
  3. The individual's spouse failed to report or underreported his or her income
  4. The individual did not have knowledge of the unreported income or erroneous items at the time the return was filed
  5. It would be unfair to hold the individual liable for the tax deficiency
  6. The individual applies for relief no later than two years after the IRS's first attempt to collect the deficiency
If an individual meets the criteria for innocent spouse relief, the individual will be relieved of responsibility for the tax due on the return or any penalties or interest. Depending on the facts and circumstances, the innocent spouse may be eligible for relief of all taxes due on the return, including penalties and interest, or only partial relief.

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