The following article is provided courtesy of CCH, Inc.
The IRS has announced that it has initiated a series of steps to protect victims of domestic violence who apply for innocent spouse relief. Taxpayers who are victims of domestic violence and fear that filing a claim for innocent spouse relief would result in retaliation should write the term "Potential Domestic Abuse Case" on the top of their Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief. Taxpayers should also explain their concerns in a statement attached to the form, in addition to explaining why they should qualify for innocent spouse relief. These steps will alert the IRS as to the sensitivity of the taxpayer's situation and the information provided
The IRS is required to inform a taxpayer's current or former spouse that innocent spouse relief is being sought. However, the Service will not release to the current or former spouse information regarding a new name, employer, phone number, or other information that could endanger the safety of domestic violence victims and is not related to the determination of innocent spouse relief. Additionally, the IRS centralizes all correspondence regarding potential abuse cases in one location, which prevents the other spouse from guessing the whereabouts of the potential abuse victim.
Finally, IRS employees working innocent spouse cases will receive special training on how to properly handle abuse cases and although the designation of a claim as a potential abuse case does not lead to special consideration when the IRS makes an innocent spouse determination, it is a factor that may be considered.