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Do I include my spouse's income on an IRS Offer In Compromise if we are estranged?

Cerritos, CA |

I file my taxes married filing separately. My spouse and I live separately in California, ie, maintain separate households. So can I exclude her income on the IRS offer in compromise?

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Attorney answers 3


You can. You should provide a detailed explanation as to why you are submitting an offer allong this with evidence that proves that you are living separately in separate households for a significant period of time.

Good luck!
Phillip M. Smith Jr.
Los Angeles Tax & Business Attorney
Licensed in the United States Tax Court
Main: 323-292-4116 ❘ Cell: 562-505-1004

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Mr. Smith is licensed to practice law throughout the state of California with offices in Los Angeles County. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States, and is also licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court. His phone number is 323-292-4116 or his email address is


An offer in compromise is serious and because it has such serious implications should not be undertaken without competent advice of a tax professional (lawyer, CPA, etc.)'s worth the investment to do it right especially when the issues are less than straightforward. That said, you can typically exclude the income in this situation.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:


You can include it. The question is why would you want to do that. Usually, we want to exclude the income in these circumstances. You may want to have a tax professional complete, file and negotiate the offer for you that has experience in this area. Most of the attorneys that practice in this area offer a free consultation. I offer a free consultation in my practice and would be happy to take a look at this for you and give you a firm quote to complete the offer. Give me a call if you are interested.

H. Daniel Lively, Esq., LL.M., CPA Certified Tax Specialist, CA Board of Legal Specialization 714-708-2593 Mr. Lively is a Certified Tax Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He can be reached at 714-708-2593 or individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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