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Tax Court Says Spouse Was Not So Innocent

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In Constance H. Briley v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, docket number 7782-17 (T.C. Memo. 2019-55), the Tax Court denied innocent spouse relief to a Virginia woman, who the court said had reason to know of an error on her joint tax returns.

Findings of Fact

Constance H. Briley married Mr. Briley in 1988. They were married during the years involved; and although they separated in 2013, they remained married as of the date of trial.

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Innocent spouse relief: Are you responsible for your spouse’s tax mistakes?

IRS Penalties, innocent spouse relief, seriously delinquent tax debt

When married taxpayers sign a joint return, they are jointly and severally liable for the taxes owed on the return.

Oftentimes a spouse will fail to report income or claim improper deductions or credits, without the other spouse knowing. In such cases, it might be grossly unfair to hold the innocent spouse liable for the other spouses’s mistakes.

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