IRS eases liability rule for spouse’s tax debt

    WASHINGTON (AP) ? The Internal Revenue Service says it is making it easier for some “innocent spouses” to escape liability for their husband’s or wife’s tax debt.

    Under the law, taxpayers who file joint returns are generally liable for the tax debts of their partners. However, spouses who are unaware that their partners have underpaid federal income taxes may qualify for relief from the IRS.

    The IRS had required innocent spouses to apply for relief within two years of the IRS starting a collection action. On Monday, the IRS eliminated the two-year time limit for some applications after lawmakers and advocates complained that many abused or divorced spouses may not become aware of IRS collection efforts for years.