Document Type


Publication Date



When a married couple files a joint tax return, both spouses become jointly and severally liable for the income taxes due, including any additional taxes, interest, and penalties determined at a later date. In the event of an underpayment of income tax, the IRS can proceed against either spouse to collect the entire tax deficiency. This places a spouse in a precarious position in situations where the other spouse deliberately omits income or overstates deductions on a jointly filed income tax return, even if the spouse is totally unaware of the other's transgressions. Relief from joint and several liability is available to spouses that signed and filed a joint return for the year in which an income tax deficiency is assessed and who satisfy requirements under one of the following 3 areas: 1. innocent spouse relief under section 6105(b), 2. separate liability relief under section 6015(c), or 3. equitable relief under section 6015(f).