A 2020 District Court case in Texas tells us that the “timing” of filing an Innocent Spouse Request for relief is supremely important. In the Landers case, the taxpayer filed her Innocent Spouse Claim after an IRS bank levy had been sent to her banking institution. In effect, she filed her Innocent Spouse Claim during the 21-day period that the bank was holding her funds after receipt of the levy. She was attempting to stop the levy pursuant the Innocent Spouse statute. In part, it reads:
… no levy or proceeding in court shall be made, begun, or prosecuted against an individual making [an innocent spouse claim] … for collection of any assessment to which such election or request relates until the close of the 90th day referred to in subparagraph (A)(ii) ….
The court agreed with the IRS that the statute did not apply to levies that had already begun. It was a strict reading of the statute that disfavored the taxpayer. Make sure your Innocent Spouse Request for Relief is filed as early as possible; “timing” is important.