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IRS Changes Policy, Relaxes Rules for Innocent Spouse Relief

Tax Notes, Commentary Tax Practice

A recent revenue procedure and chief counsel notice reflect significant IRS policy and procedural changes for claims under section 6015(f). The IRS has relaxed the eligibility conditions for innocent spouse relief, and for the first time, there is now uniform law in the Tax Court. A taxpayer obtains a de novo trial, and there is no deference given in court to the IRS’s innocent spouse determination. So even if a taxpayer does not prevail before the IRS, the Tax Court will give the case a fresh look. This article examines the recent policy changes and discusses issues that tax advisers should be aware of when counseling clients seeking equitable innocent spouse relief from joint and several liability.

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