Innocent Spouse Relief

More often than not, a matrimonial law attorney is not a C.P.A.  More often than not during the process of a case, a client will ask the advice of their attorney, “How should I/we file tax returns this year?”

The answer is and should be first and foremost a reference to a C.P.A.  A qualified C.P.A will be able to look at a divorcing couple’s entire financial picture, including their past and advise as to how to best file the final tax return in a way to minimize the taxes due.

What happens when one party does not want to file a joint return because of concerns regarding tax liabilities or even worse, penalties? The recent unpublished Appellate Division decision of Hreha-Coloccia v. Coloccia, A-3892-07T1, decided September 2, 2009, gives some guidance in this regard.


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The process for seeking Innocent Spouse Relief, a provision for individuals concerned about the accuracy of tax returns filed by their current or former spouses, has become a potential minefield.

In June 2007, the IRS published a revised Form 8857 – Request for Innocent Spouse Relief. Prior to that time, the form was short and