Spouses filing a joint federal income tax return generally are jointly liable for the tax due.
August 2, 2019
But, in some situations, a filer can avoid joint liability by qualifying for “innocent spouse relief.” In one case, a husband prepared joint tax returns while he and his wife were separated. He didn’t report a $36,083 Social Security disability payment to his wife.
The U.S. Tax Court agreed with the IRS’s determination that the wife wasn’t eligible for innocent spouse relief. It noted that she’d failed to document that she was a victim of abuse, as she had claimed, and that she feared retaliation from her husband if she questioned the tax returns. (TC Memo 2019-88)