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Domestic Abuse Victims Should Know Their Taxpayer Rights

October 23, 2017



Domestic abuse is something sad to talk about and oftentimes it is a very vicious circle from which is very hard for the victims to escape.

Domestic abuse includes not only physical and emotional abuse, but also often includes control over finances.


IRS may consider facts and circumstances that affect a taxpayer’s taxes. It is important to understand that each taxpayer has tax rights such as:

  • File a separate return even if married.

  • Review the entire tax return before signing a joint return.

  • Review supporting documents for a joint return.

  • Refuse to sign a joint return.

  • Request more time to file a tax return.

  • Get copies of prior year tax returns from the IRS.

  • Seek independent legal advice.

When filing jointly, both spouses are responsible for the tax liability even if only one spouse had income. In some cases, the taxpayer can request relief from the tax liability on a joint tax return as an innocent spouse.


Some examples when a spouse may request an innocent spouse relief are:

  • In case of a joint tax return, the spouse though that the other spouse had paid all taxes due, but IRS contacts the taxpayer because not all tax liability has been paid.

  • On a joint return, the spouse didn’t know about unreported income and erroneous deductions from the other spouse. IRS adjusts the tax liability due to these items.

In order to apply for an Innocent Spouse Relief Form 8857 needs to be filed. Also, the following IRS Publications contain great information:


Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals

Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief


Another tax relief that a spouse may file for, is an injured spouse relief.


In this case the injured taxpayer files Form 8379 if on a jointly filed tax return, the tax refund was, or is expected to be applied to a past-due obligation of the other spouse. By filing Form 8379, the injured spouse may be able to get back his or her share of the joint refund.


LR Tax & Accounting Services provides tax, accounting, and bookkeeping services. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free one hour consultation, we are always happy to help!