The IRS can sometimes saddle you with a tax debt that is actually the responsibility of your spouse or ex-spouse. If the actions of your spouse caused the tax problem and you were unaware of or had no part in those actions, you can use the IRS Form 8857 to request tax resolution called “innocent spouse relief” and have the tax debt and penalties removed.
By requesting innocent spouse relief, you can be relieved of responsibility for paying tax, interest, and penalties if your spouse (or former spouse) improperly reported items or omitted items on your tax return. Generally, the tax, interest, and penalties that qualify for relief can only be collected from your spouse (or former spouse). However, you are jointly and individually responsible for any tax, interest, and penalties that do not qualify for relief. The IRS can collect these amounts from either you or your spouse (or former spouse). Innocent spouse relief only applies to individual income or self-employment taxes. For example, Household Employment taxes, Individual Shared Responsibility payments, and business taxes and trust fund recovery penalty for employment taxes are not eligible for innocent spouse relief.