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J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return by J.K. Lasser Institute

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1.9 Equitable Relief

The IRS may grant equitable relief for liability on a joint return where innocent spouse relief (1.7) and separate liability (1.8) are not available. For example, the separate liability election and innocent spouse relief are not available where the proper amount of tax was reported on a joint return but your spouse failed to pay the tax owed. If you signed a correct return on which tax was owed and, without your knowledge, your spouse used the funds intended for payment of the tax for other purposes, the IRS may grant you equitable relief. A request for equitable relief is made on Form 8857. The IRS may also grant equitable relief in cases where the proper amount of tax was understated on the joint return if it would be inequitable to hold you liable.

Threshold conditions you must meet for relief.

Each of the following conditions must be met before the IRS will even consider granting you equitable relief:

1. You filed a joint return for the year that relief is sought.
2. Relief is not available under the innocent spouse (1.7) or separate liability election (1.8) rules.
3. No assets were transferred between you and your spouse as part of a fraudulent scheme.
4. Your spouse did not transfer assets to you for the purpose of tax avoidance. If there was such a transfer, relief can be granted only to the extent income tax liability exceeds the value of these assets.
5. You did not file or fail to file the return with fraudulent intent.
6. The income tax liability ...

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