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Innocent spouse and injured spouse are two different relief types which are often used interchangeably. It will be beneficial to understand the difference between both as it will save you time and stress of resubmitting your claim all over. Below are some notable differences between innocent and injured spouse relief.

Currently Married or Divorced/Legally Separate

Most times, innocent spouse relief is filed by a spouse who is legally separated or divorced, while an injured spouse is mostly used by someone currently married to their spouse.

The Use of Innocent Spouse vs. Injured Spouse

As stipulated by the IRS, the innocent spouse relief is filed to separate joint and other liabilities.  To qualify for this relief, you need to prove that you are not privy to income under-reporting, erroneous tax claims and any other fraudulent activity committed by your spouse while filing a joint return in marriage.

For the injured spouse relief, it’s used when your part of the jointly filed tax return is being offset and added to a debt owed by your spouse before you got married and that you are not legally responsible for paying.



Types of Debts That Apply

1.     Debt and Taxes

Innocent Spouse relief is filed especially for releasing yourself from a tax debt owed by you or are jointly liable for by marriage.

Injured Spouse relief, is filed when your part of the tax refund is offset and added to other IRS tax debt and other non-IRS tax debts which include spousal support, state income tax, child support, student loan debt, and other debts.

2.     The Forms Used to File

Innocent spouse relief is filed using Form 8857 while injured spouse form is filed using Form 8379. While filling the injured spouse relief, you will need to provide information on your income, deductions, assets, and credits attributed to you and the ones credited to your spouse. This will help the IRS to fully determine the part of refund you will be allowed to keep.

3.     When is Innocent Spouse and Injured Spouse Typically Filed

You are to file innocent spouse relief after you have been alerted by the IRS which will state why you will be assessed alongside your spouse for several tax frauds such as overstatement of deductions, under reporting income, erroneous tax claim.

Injured spouse relief is usually filed alongside the married joint return. However, if you are not privy to the fact that your spouse has debts that might cause your refund to be withheld, you can file for injured spouse relief after filing for a joint return.

The innocent spouse relief and injured spouse relief are both effective for addressing tax liability issues as it applies to you. However, dealing with IRS tax issues is not an easy thing, it could be challenging especially when one doesn’t have the right information. It’s advisable to seek legal counsel about the right option to choose as this will increase your chance of securing a tax relief.

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


Urgent Tax Services

6009 16th Ave,

Brooklyn, NY 11204

Ph. (212) 320-8191

Fax (646) 626-6447

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