This form was last Revised January, 2014 but is still current through tax year 2019.
Form 8857 - Request for Innocent Spouse Relief
When a joint tax return is filed, both the taxpayer and the spouse become both jointly and individually liable for any tax, interest, or penalties due on the return. If they later divorce, the IRS may still assess interest and penalties on the former spouse, even if they didn't have any income at the time the joint return was filed. Form 8857 is sent to the IRS to request that a spouse be relieved from paying a portion of the interest or penalties. In order for a spouse to receive relief, they must meet the following conditions:
- The tax must be for a joint return for the year the spouse is filing the form;
- The return must have an understated tax due to omitting or incorrectly reporting any income, deduction, credit, or basis on the return from the filer's spouse;
- The spouse seeking relief must not have known and had no reason to know about the understatement of tax;
- It would be unfair to hold the spouse seeking relief liable for the understatement of tax, taking all the facts and circumstances into account.
Note that partial relief may be granted if the spouse knew about the item omitted or incorrectly reported but not the full extent.
Relief must be filed within 2 years after the IRS' first collection attempts in order to be considered, even if they don't have all of their paperwork or information necessary to prove their case.