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Victims of Domestic Abuse Should Know Their Rights

Tax Tip Tuesday Financial Blog Post

When it comes to domestic abuse, finances are often another area of that perpetrators use to take control their victims. That is why it is important for victims of domestic abuse to know managing finances is important to understanding one’s tax rights. Taxpayers should know that it is their right to expect the IRS to consider facts along with circumstances affecting their individual’s taxes.

Taxpayers have the right to:

  • File separate tax returns even if married.
  • Refuse to sign a joint return.
  • Review the tax return before signing if filing jointly.
  • Review supporting documents for joint returns.
  • Get copies of prior year tax returns from the IRS.
  • Request more time to file their tax return.
  • Seek independent legal advice.

Taxpayers also have the right to request relief from the liability on joint returns when they are a victim of domestic violence. This is known as innocent spouse relief. Below are a couple of examples:

Example 1:

  • A taxpayer signs a joint return with their spouse.
  • The taxpayer thought their spouse paid all taxes due.
  • The IRS contacts the taxpayer because the taxes shown on the joint return were not paid.

Example 2:

  • The taxpayer signs a joint return with their spouse.
  • The taxpayer didn’t know about their spouse’s unreported income or erroneous deductions.
  • The IRS adjusted the taxes due because of their spouse’s improper items.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can apply for Innocent Spouse Relief by filling out Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief.   More Information:


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