Relief from Spousal Liability

These pages deal with rules under which you may be able to avoid paying your spouse’s taxes, or prevent your refund from being used to cover payments owed by your spouse.

Spousal Liability in General
An overview of spousal liability issues in the world of income tax.

Innocent Spouse Rule
If you sign a joint return, the IRS may be able to collect any tax relating to that return from you — even if your spouse was the one who reported incorrectly. There are three ways to get out of paying your spouse’s tax. The one described on this page is the innocent spouse rule.

Separate Liability Election
This page describes how you may be able to obtain relief from spousal liability using the separate liability election.

Equitable Relief
Equitable relief may be available where you fail to qualify for other forms of relief from spousal liability.

Community Property States
In nine states, community property rules alter the way marital income is treated for tax purposes.

Injured Spouse Rule
This rule can prevent the IRS from seizing your share of a joint refund to cover a debt owed by your spouse.

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