Innocent Spouse Relief Form 8857. How and where to file it?

The Innocent Spouse Rules
August 5, 2018
Tax Planning
August 16, 2018
Show all

Innocent Spouse Relief Form 8857. How and where to file it?


Form 8857 Innocent Spouse Relief is an IRS form used by taxpayers to request relief for paying a specific tax liability incurred by his or her spouse.  It is usually used to file for the Innocent spouse relief to seek relief from tax returns erroneously filed by the spouse (or ex-spouse).

Should you file this form?

Naturally, when you file a joint tax return with your spouse, you are obligated to pay for the tax incurred by both of you as with the benefits of filing jointly.

But since the concept of joint tax returns also comes with a downside such as your spouse misusing this scenario and incurring more tax liabilities than you can handle.

You can request for Innocent Spouse Relief which can be applied by filing the Form 8857.

Other Reasons to File for Innocent Spouse Relief

You can also file the Innocent Spouse relief if you are a resident of a community property state and did not file a joint Federal income tax and therefore believe you should not be held responsible for the tax related to an item of community income.

Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

When should you not file the form 8857?

There are circumstances when you are not allowed to file form 8857 for Innocent Spouse relief. They include:

  1. You cannot file this form if the court has already decided before this moment that you are not eligible for relief.
  2. It is not possible to file this form if at some time in the past you had participated in a proceeding with regards to the matter and did not ask for the relief.
  3. If the IRS accepted your Offer In Compromise with the IRS.

When should you file this form?

You should file this form as soon as you are made aware of the tax liability which you believe your spouse to be held responsible for and not you.  There are two ways you may become aware of this liability:

  • The IRS is examining your tax relief and proposing that it will be increased.
  • The IRS sends you a notice to this effect.

Remember you have no later than two years deadline to file this form from the moment you are first notified or first attempt to collect the tax.

What other situations can be used as the two years reference?

Many other situations may either shorten other than lengthen the actual meaning of the two-year gap. These are collection activities and include circumstances such as:

  1. The IRS decision to offset your tax fund against an amount you owed on the joint return for a previous year and the IRS has informed about the right of filing this form before now.
  2. The filing of a claim by the IRS that you were a party to a scheme or a recent filing of a claim by the IRS with regards to your property. This may also include bankrupt proceeding.
  3. A suit against you from the US to collect the joint liability.
  4. The issuance of a notice which must have notified you of the intent to place this levy.

What can filing for Innocent Spouse Relief accomplish?

  • You might not be liable for any taxes that your ex-spouse owes the IRS or State Revenue Division. However, you will still have to pay all taxes on your income
  • You might not be responsible to pay income taxes on revenue not claimed on your Married Filing Jointly tax return.
  • You can be exempt from all penalties and interest charges assessed against you.
  • You might also avoid being responsible for all erroneous items on the tax return filed.

The following are examples of erroneous items.

  • The expense for which the deduction is taken was not paid during the current year. For example, your spouse, a cash-basis taxpayer, deducted $15,000 of advertising expenses on Schedule C of your joint Form 1040, but the expense was paid the following year.
  • The expense does not qualify as a deductible expense. For example, your spouse claimed a business fee deduction of $5,000 that was for the payment of parking tickets. Fines are not deductible.


Where should you file?

Do not file the form 8857 with your tax return or the tax court. It must be mailed to these addresses:

The U.S. Postal Service

Internal Revenue Service

P.O. Box 120053

Covington, KY 41012

A private delivery service

Internal Revenue Service

201 W. Rivercenter Blvd., Stop 840F

Covington, KY 41011

By Fax

You can also fax the form and attachments to the IRS at 855-233-8558.

Note:You will not receive a confirmation from the IRS that they received your form 8857. You should rather contact the IRS 4-6 weeks after sending out the form.

Would my spouse be informed?

The IRS is duty-bound to contact your spouse of this development. There are no exceptions to this rule, even victims of spousal abuse or domestic violence.  The reason why your spouse will be informed is to allow your spouse to participate in the process.

If you or someone you know thinks that he/she is eligible for a claim of Innocent Spouse Relief  or any other Tax Liability issue now would be a great time to come in and let us help you resolve the issue. I can be contacted at (212) 320-8191 or by email at


Sol Gross

Urgent Tax Services

6009 16th Ave,

Brooklyn, NY 11204

Ph. (212) 320-8191

Fax (646) 626-6447

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *