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Form 8857 IN: What You Should Know

It is common for innocent spouses to claim the other spouse as a dependent and apply for  exemptions such as tax-free Social Security; Medicare; child tax credits, child benefit payments and child tax credit  reimbursement for child support payments. The Form 8857 contains four pages of questions and an additional two pages of code. Each question asks about how you  characterize yourself as an innocent spouse. Each question is coded on lines 22 through 23.  Characterization Questions To qualify for innocent spouse relief the answer to all four questions should be: “No.” The characterization questions are based on “general principles” or general guidelines regarding a spouse's  assumption of responsibility for family support and other liabilities incurred on your behalf. General Principles to be considered include, but are not limited to: 1. You are either dead or in prison. It is a general principle to grant relief to the innocent spouse if the spouse was unable to support himself  because of: a. Mental incapacity. b. Physical incapacity  c. Prison  d. Prisoner. 2. Your spouse has no physical custody or control of your children It is a general principle to grant relief to the innocent spouse if the spouse is unable to support  his or her children because of: a. Divorce or separation. 9013 (Rev. July 21, 2011) 3. Your spouse has lived apart from you without meeting the requirements to be your spouse for any significant time  under state law a. In most cases one year or less 4. Your spouse does not act in a manner that is inconsistent with his or her character or a substantial  part of the evidence supports a finding that you were the victim of domestic abuse  It is a general principle to grant relief to the innocent spouse if the spouse was unable to support  him or herself because of domestic abuse, neglect, or abandonment. If you are an employee as provided for by law, be very careful when you select your tax shelter.

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