This is a continuation of a series of posts on Innocent Spouse Relief, a provision enacted to relief people from the the burden of an unfair tax debt. If you should find yourself needing to file an appeal with the tax board and you feel like you can satisfy all of their requirements, then:
- Complete a form (8857) that lists your assets, your income, and debts.
- Beg three of your long time neighbors to write letters attesting to your meager and miserable lifestyle during the year in question. (Good luck to you on that one. Most people are very squeamish about getting involved with the tax man)
- Provide proof – as much as you can – that your spouse hid information about joint finances from you. I had twenty-six letters from my divorce attorney. I called them “The Exhibits A-Z.”
Finally bundle up the whole shebang and send it to The Franchise Tax Board. They will assign an attorney to review your appeal and get back to you. In under a year, if you’re lucky.
Do not be surprised if you get the following response:
"It is clear that appellant has failed to meet her burden of overcoming rebuttable correctness of respondent’s determination."
This is taxman speak for “your appeal has been rejected.” Remember, they’ve assigned an attorney to defend their position. He’s not going to say “whoops, we made a mistake.”
Do not despair, as I did, it need not be the end.
Next – The court of last resort...