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Spousal Defenses

In certain limited cases, your responsibility to pay a tax may be cancelled when the tax is owed entirely by your spouse or ex-spouse. This cancellation may be available when your spouse or ex-spouse was solely responsible for failure to pay the taxes, the taxes are entirely attributable to your spouse’s separate business, or if you were the victim of domestic abuse. This is true even if you filed a joint return. If you believe you are entitled to the IRS’s “innocent spouse relief,” you can file a Form 8857, but help from a tax professional is recommended. Resources for getting help are listed at the end of this chapter.