Donald C. Haley


This paper reviews the statutory requirements for obtaining the innocent spouse relief, briefly identifies the degree of consensus among the courts in interpreting key provisions of the statute, and then focuses on the major area of conflict in qualifying for relief: the "lack of knowledge" requirement on the part of the alleged innocent spouse. Particular attention is given to the rigid standard utilized by the Tax Court in its interpretation of this critical requirement versus the broader, more flexible standard employed by the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Eighth and Ninth Circuits. Finally, an analysis of a workable reconciliation of these conflicting standards is set forth, together with some expectations as to the future resolution by the courts.

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