Form 8857 is to request relief from tax liability, plus related penalties and interest, when they believe only their spouse or former spouse should be held responsible for all or part of the tax.
Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, is an IRS form filed by taxpayers to request relief from tax liability, penalties, and interest involving their spouse or former spouse. You need the following qualifications to be able to request relief:
You may download a PDF copy of Form 8857 at the IRS website. But you may also electronically fill it out on PDFRun for your convenience.
Provide all the necessary information in this form. Make sure that everything you enter is true, accurate, and correct.
This portion determines if you believe the person with whom you filed a joint return should be responsible for an erroneous item or an underpayment of tax from your joint tax return.
If you were a resident of a community property state and did not file a joint federal income tax return and you believe you should not be held responsible for the tax attributable to an item of community income.
Mark the appropriate box to determine if the paragraphs above describe your situation. You may select:
If you marked “Yes,” proceed to Item 2. If you marked “No,” do not file this 8857 form, but proceed to Item 2 to see if you can file a different form.
Mark the appropriate box to determine if the IRS took your share of a joint refund from any tax year to pay any of the following past-due debt(s) owed only by the person listed on Item 6:
You may select:
If you marked “Yes,” you may be able to redeem your share of the refund and see Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. Proceed to Item 3 if you answered “Yes” to Item 1. If you marked “No,” go to Item 3 if you answered “Yes” to Item 1.
Enter each tax year you want innocent spouse relief.
This portion requires information about yourself and the person listed on Item 6 for the tax years you want relief.
Mark the appropriate box to determine if English is your primary or preferred language. You may select:
If you marked “No,” enter your primary or preferred language.
Item 5 - Your current name
Enter your full current name.
Your Social Security Number
Enter your social security number.
Every page of IRS form 8857 has “Your current name” and “Your social security number” on top. Make sure to enter the same information as what you entered in Item 5.
Address where you wish to be contacted
Check the box if you want IRS to send all mail for you, including legal notices, to the address you will enter in this form. Otherwise, leave it blank.
Number and street or PO box
Enter your number and street or PO box.
Enter your apartment number.
Enter your county.
City, town or post office, state, and ZIP code.
Enter your city, town or post office, state, and ZIP code. If you have a foreign address, check the instructions of Form 8857.
Best or safest daytime phone number (between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time)
Enter your best or safest daytime phone number.
Check the box below if you consent to the IRS leaving a voicemail message at this number. Otherwise, leave it blank.
Provide information about your spouse for the years you want relief. File a separate Form 8857 for tax years involving different spouses or former spouses.
That person’s current name
Enter the name of your spouse.
Social Security Number
Enter your spouse’s social security number if known.
Current home address (number and street) (if known).
Enter your spouse’s current home address, including the number and street if known.
Enter your spouse’s apartment number.
City, town or post office, state, and ZIP code.
Enter your spouse’s city, town or post office, state, and ZIP code.
Daytime phone number (between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time)
Enter your spouse’s daytime phone number.
Mark the appropriate box to determine the current marital status between you and the person on Item 6. You may select:
For options two to five, enter the respective dates when it became effective.
If you marked option three, attach a photocopy of the death certificate and will should there be one. If you marked option four, attach a photocopy of your entire separation agreement. If you marked option five, attach a photocopy of your entire divorce decree.
Take note that a divorce decree stating that your former spouse must pay all taxes does not mean that you are qualified for relief.
Mark the appropriate box to determine the highest level of education you completed when the return or returns were filed. You may select:
If you marked “College degree or higher,” list the degrees you have, and any college-level business or tax-related courses you completed.
Enter your explanation if the answers in this item are not the same for all tax years.
Mark the appropriate box to determine if you have a mental or physical health problem now or back when any of the returns listed on Item 3 were filed. You may select:
If you marked “Yes,” attach a statement to explain the problem and when it started. Provide also photocopies of any documentation such as medical bills or doctor’s report or letter. Otherwise, mark “No” and explain below.
Mark the appropriate box to determine if there is any information you are afraid to provide on this form but are willing to discuss. You may select:
This portion determines if and how you were involved with finances and preparing returns for the tax years you want relief.
Mark the appropriate box to determine how you were involved with finances and preparing returns for the tax years you want relief. You may select:
Explain below your reason for choosing any of the options above.
Enter how you were involved in preparing the returns.
Enter your explanation about what you knew about the income of the person on Item 6 when the returns were filed.
Enter your explanation about what you knew about any missing information on the returns when they were filed, and whether you asked about anything on the returns that you knew was missing.
Enter your explanation of when and how you thought the balance due would be paid if the returns showed a balance due to the IRS.
Enter any financial problems you were having when the returns were filed, such as bankruptcy or bills you could not pay.
Enter how you were involved in the household finances and your role in deciding how money was spent.
Mark the appropriate box if you and the spouse you entered on Item six incur any large purchases or expenses.
If you checked “Yes,” describe the expenses or purchases you and your spouse incurred. Include the types and the amount of the expenses or purchases and the years incurred or made. Otherwise, leave it blank.
Mark the appropriate box if the spouse you entered on Item six transferred any assets to you.
If you checked “Yes,” list the assets your spouse transferred to you, the dates they were transferred, and the fair market value on the dates of transfer.
This portion requires you to provide your current financial situation.
Enter your assets starting from the three columns below. Enter the description of assets on the first column, followed by its fair market value, and the balance of any outstanding loans you used to acquire the asset.
Enter how many people you are currently supporting, including yourself.
Enter your current average monthly income and expenses for your entire household.
The first portion of Item 22 is your monthly income. Enter the amount of the following:
Total Monthly Income
Enter the total monthly income.
For the “Other Income,” enter each type below the line and their respective amounts.
If your family or friends are helping to support you, enter the amount of support as gifts above.
The second portion of Item 22 is your monthly expenses. Enter all your expenses, including expenses paid with income from gifts.
For court-ordered payments, enter each type below the line.
Total Monthly Expenses
Enter the total monthly expenses.
Fill out this portion if you are now or were a victim of domestic violence or abuse. If you have other concerns about your safety, contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence.
Mark the appropriate box to determine if you were or a member of a family was a victim of abuse or domestic violence by the person in Item 6. You may select:
If you marked “Yes,” answer the next question below. The IRS will put a code on your separate account to enable the IRS to respond appropriately and be sensitive to your situation. Otherwise, mark “No” and proceed to Part VI.
Abuse can include physical, psychological, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse. It also includes the abuser making you afraid to disagree with him or her or cousin you to fear for your safety.
Enter the description of the abuse you experienced, including approximately when it began and how it may have affected you, your children, or other members of the family.
Explain how the abuse affected your ability to question the reporting of items on your tax return or the payment of the tax due on your return. Attach a written statement if necessary.
Mark the appropriate box to determine if you are afraid of the person you listed on Item 6. You may select:
Mark the appropriate box to determine if the person listed on Item 6 poses a danger to you, your children, or other members of the family. You may select:
Attach any of the following copies of documentation to properly evaluate your claim:
This portion allows you to provide additional information if any.
Enter any other information you want the IRS to consider from the years that this form is about or any other years during which you filed a joint return with the spouses you listed in Item 6 to determine if it would be unfair to hold you liable for the tax.
This portion informs the IRS if you want a refund.
Check the box to determine if you would like a refund if you qualify for relief and if you already paid the tax.
Affix your signature.
Enter the date you signed the form.
If you are submitting your 8857 tax form using the US Postal Service, mail it to:
Internal Revenue Service
PO Box 120053
Covington, Kentucky 41042
But if you are submitting it using a private delivery service, mail it to:
Internal Revenue Service
7940 Kentucky Drive, Stop 840F
Florence, Kentucky 41042
You may also fax your completed Form 8857 to IRS at 855-233-8558.