Victims of abusive spouses often find that getting away from the abuser and out of the marriage is only the first step. Because financial control is a hallmark of domestic abuse, victims may be left in financial turmoil and facing serious tax consequences. Thankfully, victims of domestic violence have special rights when it comes to taxes.
Tax Tips From The IRS
According to the IRS, taxpayers have the right to expect the IRS to review the unique circumstances of each case and take them into consideration.
Victims should be aware that they have the right to review a joint return, the right to look at supporting documents and the right to refuse to sign the return. Even if still married to the abuser, the victim has the right to file a separate return.
Unfortunately, these are not easy to do for someone trapped in an abusive marriage. For those unable to exercise these rights while in the abusive marriage, there is an important option called innocent spouse relief. This may be used to gain relief from tax debt that was the result of the abusive spouse’s mismanagement of money.
Property Division, Alimony And Other Financial Matters In Divorce
In addition to relief offered through the IRS, domestic violence victims may be able to secure their future financial well-being through the property division process of a divorce. Debt can be allocated in this process as well. Neither assets nor debts need to be divided equally. The law calls for them to be divided fairly, and the history of domestic violence may play a role in determining what outcome is truly fair. The victim may also be eligible for alimony, or spousal maintenance, in some circumstances.