When should the taxpayer file Form 8857 Request for Innocent Spouse Relief?
The IRS has suggested that the taxpayer should file "Form 8857 Request for Innocent Spouse Relief" as soon as they become aware of a tax liability for which they believe only their spouse or former spouse should be held responsible. The following are some of the ways you may become aware of such a liability.
1. The IRS is examining your tax return and proposing to increase your tax liability.
2. The IRS sends you a notice.
However, you must file Form 8857 no later than 2 years after the first IRS attempt to collect the tax from you that occurs after July 22, 1998. For this reason, the IRS suggests that taxpayers "do not delay filing because you do not have all the required documentation."
It is worth noting that the IRS instructions state that the IRS "must contact your spouse or former spouse and there are no exceptions, even for victims of spousal abuse or domestic violence. The IRS states that they will inform your spouse or former spouse that you filed Form 8857 and will allow him or her to participate in the process. If you are requesting relief from joint and several liability on a joint return, the IRS must also inform him or her of its preliminary and final determinations regarding your request for relief."