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Last Updated: 7/18/2016

Innocent Spouse Program

Spouses who file a joint income tax return are both responsible for the full amount of tax, penalty, and interest owed on their return. In some situations, you can ask the Minnesota Department of Revenue to adjust your state tax liability under the Innocent Spouse Program.

This program may help you avoid additional tax liabilities, penalties, and interest if they were caused by your spouse or former spouse. To qualify, you must meet all of these requirements:
  • You qualify for relief under Section 6015(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • The additional tax due resulted from an audit of a joint income tax return.
  • The underpayment of tax resulted from actions by your spouse or former spouse.
  • You did not know about, or benefit from, the actions of your spouse or former spouse.

Was your Minnesota return audited due to a federal audit?

Send a letter to the Minnesota Department of Revenue asking for relief under the state’s Innocent Spouse Program. You must send us:
  • A signed letter that indicates the tax years you are requesting relief.
  • An explanation of how you meet all of the program requirements listed above.
  • A copy of the IRS order (“determination”) granting relief on your federal tax debt (if applicable). The determination must include the IRS provision used to grant the relief.
Mail your request letter to:
Minnesota Revenue
Income Tax and Withholding Division
Mail Station 7701
St. Paul, MN 55146-7701
We may need additional information. If we ask for more information and you do not provide it, we will close the request and you will both remain liable for the total debt.

What happens after I apply for the Innocent Spouse Program?

Once we receive your request, we take the following steps:
1.  We send you a letter to confirm we received your request. We also send your spouse or former spouse a letter to notify
      them of the request.
2.  We review your request. We may contact you if we need more information.
3.  We send a letter to notify you if you qualify for the program.
  • If you do not qualify, the letter will explain why.
  • If you do qualify, the letter will explain our proposed decision about how to divide the tax debt between you and your spouse or former spouse.
4.  If you agree with the decision, no further action is needed. If you disagree, you must send us documentation to show why
     the proposed decision is incorrect. the proposed decision is incorrect.
5. If we do not hear from you within 30 days, we consider your request complete and make our final determination (see below
     for details).
Note: Until the request is complete, we will apply your tax refunds to the debt.

Final determination

We will send final determination letters to you and your spouse or former spouse that state the amount you each owe.
You are responsible for the portion of tax debt that is assigned to you. We will send you a refund if you overpaid your portion of the debt and are entitled to a refund.
Either spouse may appeal to Minnesota Tax Court if they disagree with our final determination.