Substantial changes were made by the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-206) and are generally effective for tax liabilities remaining unpaid as of, or arising after, July 22, 1998. Section 6013(e) containing the old Innocent Spouse Definitions was stricken and new IRC Section 6015 contains the new Innocent Spouse Rules.

Section 6015 Relief From Joint and Several Liability on Joint Return


  • Innocent spouse status must be elected
  • Some of the requirements for obtaining "Innocent Spouse" are relaxed from prior law
  • Partial relief is available
  • Special relief for persons no longer married to, or legally separated from, or who did not live with the spouse for the 12 month period ending with the date of the election (separate liability election)
  • IRS can grant "equitable relief" under all the "facts and circumstances"
  • Relief determined without regard to community property laws
  • Use form 8857 Request for "Innocent Spouse Relief"

Recent court decisions have clarified the standing of the spouse not seeking relief under the innocent spouse provisions (K. King v. Comm., 115 T.C. N. 8 (8/10/00). Knowledge of the items giving rise to a tax deficiency will bar equitable relief (K. Cheshire, 115 TC – No. 15, CCH Dec. 54,028). The IRS has released its latest guidance in Rev. Proc. 2000-15, January, 2000.

SOURCE: DivorceSource