Innocent spouse relief is an option you may have if your spouse committed tax fraud or made errors when filing a tax return. It is an offer at the federal level managed by the IRS.
Not every situation allows you to claim innocent spouse relief. You must qualify, and your knowledge of errors comes into play.
General rules about knowledge of tax errors
In general, the IRS only allows you to file for innocent spouse relief when you are truly innocent of any wrongdoing. You must show that you had no idea that your spouse filed errant tax returns.
Even if you can show that you did not know, you will also have to prove that the average person in your situation would not have had the ability to be aware of the issues with the tax return. If the IRS finds that you should have known, then it may not grant innocent spouse relief.
An exception for some situations
The IRS does offer an exception in cases where there is domestic violence. You may have known about the tax issues, but due to the fear of retaliation from your spouse, you did not act to prevent them from happening.
To get the exemption, you will have to show you were suffering under domestic violence before you signed the tax return. You also have to prove you were fearful to not sign or to stand up against your spouse about the false return or that you were under pressure to sign.
Innocent spouse relief can help you get out from under tax obligations that were a result of fraud. However, you must ensure you qualify and provide evidence that you qualify if you had any knowledge about the errors.