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Mrs. Jones is a homemaker. She admits that based on their lifestyle she thought the couple's income was approximately $100,000 ($50,000 more than reported). However she had limited access to her husband's financial documents and relied on the accountant. She claims she had no knowledge of the extent of the unreported income and assumed much of their income was non- taxable in nature. You should advise her that she:

a. Under no circumstances will she be responsible for any of the taxes due because an accountant prepared the return.
b. May be able to avoid liability to the extent she had no actual knowledge of the deficiency when filing the return. The burden of proof will be on the IRS.
c. May be able to avoid liability to the extent she had no reason to know of the deficiency (and did not have actual knowledge) when filing the return. The burden of proof will be on her.
d. None of the above.

1 Answer

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Answer:

c. May be able to avoid liability to the extent she had no reason to know of the deficiency (and did not have actual knowledge) when filing the return. The burden of proof will be on her.

Explanation:

The doctrine of innocent spouse relief might apply here. Mrs. Jones will have to prove that:

  1. the income that was omitted was earned by her husband, not her.
  2. she must prove that when she signed the tax filings, she was not aware of the omission.
  3. after examining all the facts surrounding the omission, the IRS must decide that blaming her would not be fair.

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Pansy Lehner
15.5k 3 10 26
answered 10 months ago