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Three Types of Relief at a Glance

Factors

Innocent Spouse Relief
§6015(b)

Allocation of Liability
§6015(c)

Equitable Relief
§6015(f)

 Equitable Relief Community Property States 
§66(c)

Type of Returns  Joint Joint Joint  Married filing separate 
Type of Liability Deficiency Deficiency  Deficiency or underpayment  Deficiency or underpayment 
Special Requirements     Relief under §6015(b) and §6015(c) not available  

Refunds Subject to Internal Revenue Code 6511

Refunds available No refunds Refunds available for separate payments made solely by the Requesting Spouse and for payments where the Requesting Spouse provided the funds for joint payments.
Marital Status Marital status considered as an equitable factor Must be divorced, widowed; legally separated; OR not living together for at least 12 months prior to the election  Marital status considered as an equitable factor
Knowledge TP must establish had no knowledge OR reason to know IRS must establish TP had actual knowledge of deficiency items Knowledge considered as an equitable factor
Equity Inequitable to hold TP liable: consider all facts & circumstances   Inequitable to hold TP liable: consider all facts & circumstances
Required Factors Tier I    

Tier I Cases (Relief ordinarily granted if all 4 factors met)

  1. Underpayment
  2. No longer married, legally separated, OR living together for 12 months prior to request
  3. No knowledge or reason to know when return signed
  4. TP will suffer economic hardship if relief not granted
List of Partial Factors Tier II    

Tier II Cases - Underpayment and Deficiency

Equitable Relief Factors

  1. Marital status (same as 6015(c))
  2. Economic Hardship (defined in Regs. §301.6343-1(b)(4))
  3. Non requesting spouse's legal requirement to pay the liability
  4. No knowledge or reason to know (that liability would not be paid (for underpayment) or of item (for deficiency)
  5. Significant Benefit
  6. Compliance with Income Tax Laws
  7. Abuse (but not duress)
  8. Mental or physical health
Fraud Fraud is a consideration in equity determination Election invalid if IRS shows TP transferred assets as part of a fraudulent scheme 

Relief not available if

  1. Fraudulent return or
  2. Assets transferred as part of fraudulent scheme
Disqualified Assets Transferred for Avoidance of Tax or Payment of Tax Transfer of disqualified assts is a consideration in equity determination Amount of allocation is increased by value of disqualified assets Relief not available to extent of value of any disqualified assets
Time for Filing 2 years from 1st collection activity against the RS after 7/22/98 2 years from 1st collection activity against the RS after 7/22/98 Exception for equitable relief.
Consideration in Courts Tax Court; if full-paid, District court or Court of Federal Claims Tax Court Tax Court review of IRS's possible abuse of discretion  Tax Court review if part of deficiency proceedings or under Collection Due Process proceedings 
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 15-Oct-2014