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Last Updated: 2/6/2018

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 may 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 your spouse or former spouse caused them. 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 your spouse or former spouse's actions.
  • You did not know about, or benefit from, your spouse or former spouse's actions.

How do I apply for the Innocent Spouse Program?

Send us a letter asking for relief under the state’s Innocent Spouse Program. You must send us:
  • A signed letter indicating the tax years you are requesting relief.
  • An explanation of how you meet all of the program requirements listed above.
  • A copy of the Internal Revenue Service (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 your 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:
  1. We will send you a letter confirming we received your request. We will also send your spouse or former spouse a letter notifying them of your request.
  2. We will review your request. We may contact you to ask for more information.
  3. We will send a letter to notify you if you qualify for the program.
  • If you do not qualify, our letter will explain why.
  • If you do qualify, our letter will explain how we propose to calculate your share of the amount due. 
   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.
   5.   If we do not hear from you within 30 days, we will consider your request complete and make our final determination. See below
         for details.
Note: Until we complete your request, we will apply your tax refunds to the debt.

What happens after you make your 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 your assigned portion of the tax debt. We will send you a refund if you overpaid your portion of the debt and are entitled to a refund.
Either of you may appeal to the Minnesota Tax Court if you disagree with our final determination.