Revised Innocent Spouse Form Now Available from IRS

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced a redesigned Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, that will help reduce follow up questions and reduce the burden on taxpayers.

The form will ask more questions initially, but collecting critical information early in the process will mean faster processing of the request. The new design will eliminate an estimated 30,000 follow-up letters annually. The result will be a reduced burden and quicker answer for taxpayers and less cost for the government.

The form was revised based on suggestions from an IRS process improvement team led by the Office of Taxpayer Burden Reduction.

When a taxpayer files a joint return, both spouses are jointly and individually responsible for the tax. Innocent Spouse relief provides an opportunity for a spouse to be relieved from the joint debt under certain circumstances. If one taxpayer believes that only his or her spouse or former spouse who should be responsible for the tax, the taxpayer can request relief from the tax liability.

The redesigned form also will be easier to understand and to complete and will help educate taxpayers about the process. Previously, the questionnaire was separate from the form. A line-by-line analysis also resulted in a reduction in the number of questions asked of taxpayers.

See Tax Information for Innocent Spouses on the IRS Web site for more.

    [TaxMama Note: You’ll be able to file for several years at once. That will save you time over having to fill out a separate form for each year, once you discover your spouse is in tax trouble you didn’t know about. ]