Are you married and don’t want to file a joint return with your spouse?

Did your spouse underreport or exclude income from a return and you are now under review?  Is the assessed liability due to your spouse’s income or lack of withholding?

You may be eligible for innocent spouse relief, separation of liability or equitable relief of tax, interest and penalties related to your federal tax liability.

There are conditions that must be met to qualify for any of the options.  Several factors are considered to determine if it is unfair to hold you responsible for the full understatement or underpayment of tax.

Does your spouse owe a past due such as child support, federal or state tax or federal non-tax obligation?  Worried about your income tax refund being applied to that obligation? 

If you are not required to pay some of your spouse’s past due amounts, you may be eligible for relief.  The non-obligated spouse may submit an injured spouse claim and allocation request.

Why would I file a return with my spouse and submit one of the above relief requests, instead of filing separately?

  • Many credits available are disallowed when you file a separate return. Electing ‘married filing separately’ status will result in loss of credit for dependent care, earned income credit and the education credit and deductions. Certain other credits are reduced to half.

Why would I file a return with my spouse and submit one of the above relief requests, instead of filing as head of household?

  • To be eligible for head of household status, you must be unmarried or ‘considered unmarried’ on the last day of the year. You may contact our office to determine if you are considered unmarried.
  • If you are married and not considered unmarried, you CAN NOT elect Head of Household filing status.

Publication 971 provides additional information and helpful charts at the end of the publication.

If you would like to file or determine eligibility of relief, you may contact our office at 508.203.1676.


Shanikwa Davis, EA, MST

Principal Owner @ S. Davis Tax Consultants