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Can an RDP who filed a joint return apply for relief under the California's innocent spouse provisions?

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Question
Can an RDP who filed a joint return apply for relief under the California's innocent spouse provisions?

Answer

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/file/personal/filing-situations/tax-debt-relief-for-spouse.html

 

Innocent joint filer

When you file a California joint tax return, both taxpayers are responsible for paying any taxes, penalties, and interest.

In some cases, a spouse or registered domestic partner (RDP) may get relief from paying all or part of what is owed. 

You may qualify for relief if you meet all of the following:

  1. You filed a joint tax return
  2. Your spouse/RDP created the tax debt
  3. Given the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the tax debt

Types of relief

Equitable relief

To qualify, you must either:

  • Show that some or all of the tax debt is caused by the other spouse/RDP
  • Show that you were the victim of abuse or financial control by your spouse/RDP

We consider all facts and circumstances to decide if it's fair to hold you responsible for the tax debt. Some things we consider include:

  • You filed a joint tax return
  • Whether you experienced abuse from your spouse/RDP during your marriage or registered domestic partnership
  • Whether you knew when you signed the tax return that it understated your tax due or that your spouse/RDP would pay the tax due when the return was filed
  • Your current financial situation and your ability to pay the tax debt
  • Whether a divorce decree, termination of a registered domestic partnership, or a legally binding agreement identifies you or your spouse/RDP as the person legally responsible to pay the tax debt
  • Whether you received a significant benefit from the unpaid income tax liability or tax deficiency
  • Whether you complied with income tax laws for the years following the tax year that you are requesting relief

IRS relief

If the IRS gave you innocent spouse relief, we may also give you relief from your state tax debt.

You may qualify for this relief if you meet all of the following:

  1. You filed a joint tax return
  2. The facts and circumstances related to the federal unpaid liability and the California unpaid liability are the same
  3. You got relief from the IRS for the same tax years
  4. You provided us a copy of the IRS Final Determination letter

Community income relief

You did not include community income on your separate tax return and we audited your return and increased your tax. You may be able to exclude that community property income as part of your gross income.

You may qualify for this relief if you meet all of the following:

  • You did not file a joint tax return
  • You did not include an item of community income on your separate tax return for that tax year
  • You did not know of that community income item
  • You can prove that the unreported income was the responsibility of your spouse/RDP

Court-ordered relief

If you get a divorce decree/termination of registered domestic partnership and the court issues an order releasing you of some or all of the unpaid tax due.

You may qualify for this relief, but the court order must include:

  1. Specific reference to the amount of California state income tax due
  2. Specific reference to each tax year relief is granted
  3. Amount of unpaid tax due that each taxpayer is required to pay

If your joint gross income exceeds $150,000 or you owe more than $7,500, you must send us a letter requesting a Tax Revision Clearance Certificate (TRCC).

In your letter, include:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Social security number

You must provide the TRCC to the court. This is to make sure each spouse/RDP pays their fair share of the tax debt. After the court issues its order, you must send us a copy.

The court cannot release you of your responsibility to pay taxes on your earned income or give you relief for taxes already paid.

How to request relief

Mail or fax us the following documents:

  1. Innocent Joint Filer Relief Request (FTB 705)
  2. A statement explaining why you believe you qualify for relief and any documentation that supports your position
    • Include your name, social security number, and the tax years for which you request relief
  3. Copies of your state and federal tax returns for the tax years for which you request relief
  4. If you requested relief from the IRS, attach a copy of any IRS letters related to your relief request
  5. A complete copy of your divorce decree or termination of registered domestic partnership

We may ask for other documents based on your specific situation.

Spouse/RDP notification

When you request relief, the law requires that we notify your spouse, ex-spouse, RDP, or ex-RDP:

  • To ask them to provide documentation
  • Of our decision about your relief request and give them an opportunity to appeal

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Article Details
Views: 710 Created on: Jun 15, 2013
Date updated: Jan 06, 2020
Posted in: States, California

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