Appeal an Innocent Spouse Determination

When a spouse requests relief from taxes owed on a joint tax return, both spouses have the right to participate in the review process and appeal decisions. You can appeal an IRS decision to:

  • Deny you relief
  • Give your spouse relief

Your Preliminary Determination Letter

We send a preliminary determination letter to both spouses after we review Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief PDF. The letter explains the reason for our decision. If we denied relief, you both remain responsible for the taxes, penalties and interest.

Both spouses can appeal the decision within 30 days from the date of the letter.

How to Appeal a Preliminary Determination

To appeal a decision, complete Form 12509, Innocent Spouse Statement of Disagreement PDF. Present your information in chronological order and give specific dates.

Send the form and any supporting documentation to the IRS address on your determination letter.

Don’t send your completed form to an Appeals office, as it will delay the processing of your case.

For help preparing your appeal, see:

Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief PDF

Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Disagree PDF

Tax Court Review

Once we've completed our consideration of your request for relief, we'll send you a final determination letter. If you're the requesting spouse and disagree with our decision, you may petition the United States Tax Court within 90 days from the date of our final determination letter to review our decision. Also, if IRS has not made a final determination letter within 6 months after filing your request, you may petition the Court.