Know Your Rights: IRS Information For Victims Of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse can take many different forms. Abuse can be physical, emotional and even financial. Financial abuse can involve one spouse exerting an inordinate amount of control over the family finances. This economic control serves to keep the other spouse from taking action to become independent forcing a dependency on the controlling spouse. 

If you believe you are the victim of financial abuse, you should seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney for guidance. Counsel from an attorney can help guide you your family so you can remain safe as you work to regain your independence. One of the ways that a controlling spouse may keep control is when it comes time to file a tax return and their efforts are unilateral.


On their website, the IRS outlines the rights of domestic abuse victims. Here are some helpful excerpts:

Taxpayers have the right to:

  • File a separate return, even if they are married
  • Review the entire tax return before signing a joint return
  • Review supporting documents for a joint return
  • Refuse to sign a joint return
  • Request more time to file their tax return
  • Get copies of prior year tax returns from the IRS
  • Seek independent legal advice
  • Request relief from the liability shown on the joint return, known as innocent spouse relief

Understanding your rights is an important step to exercising your rights. Be sure to seek out helpful and supportive resources as you take the steps to get yourself on the path to financial freedom and independence from financial abuse.


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