26 CFR § 1.6015-5 - Time and manner for requesting relief.
(a) Requesting relief. To elect the application of § 1.6015-2 or 1.6015-3, or to request equitable relief under § 1.6015-4, a requesting spouse must file Form 8857, “Request for Innocent Spouse Relief” (or other specified form); submit a written statement containing the same information required on Form 8857, which is signed under penalties of perjury; or submit information in the manner prescribed by the Treasury and IRS in forms, relevant revenue rulings, revenue procedures, or other published guidance (see § 601.601(d)(2) of this chapter).
(b) Time period for filing a request for relief -
(1) In general. To elect the application of § 1.6015-2 or 1.6015-3, or to request equitable relief under § 1.6015-4, a requesting spouse must file Form 8857 or other similar statement with the Internal Revenue Service no later than two years from the date of the first collection activity against the requesting spouse after July 22, 1998, with respect to the joint tax liability.
(2) Definitions -
(i) Collection activity. For purposes of this paragraph (b), collection activity means a section 6330 notice; an offset of an overpayment of the requesting spouse against a liability under section 6402; the filing of a suit by the United States against the requesting spouse for the collection of the joint tax liability; or the filing of a claim by the United States in a court proceeding in which the requesting spouse is a party or which involves property of the requesting spouse. Collection activity does not include a notice of deficiency; the filing of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien; or a demand for payment of tax. The term property of the requesting spouse, for purposes of this paragraph (b), means property in which the requesting spouse has an ownership interest (other than solely through the operation of community property laws), including property owned jointly with the nonrequesting spouse.
(ii) Section 6330 notice. A section 6330 notice refers to the notice sent, pursuant to section 6330, providing taxpayers notice of the Service's intent to levy and of their right to a collection due process (CDP) hearing.
(3) Requests for relief made before commencement of collection activity. An election or request for relief may be made before collection activity has commenced. For example, an election or request for relief may be made in connection with an audit or examination of the joint return or a demand for payment, or pursuant to the CDP hearing procedures under section 6320 in connection with the filing of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. For more information on the rules regarding collection due process for liens, see the Treasury regulations under section 6320. However, no request for relief may be made before the date specified in paragraph (b)(5) of this section.
(5) Premature requests for relief. The Internal Revenue Service will not consider premature claims for relief under § 1.6015-2, 1.6015-3, or 1.6015-4. A premature claim is a claim for relief that is filed for a tax year prior to the receipt of a notification of an audit or a letter or notice from the IRS indicating that there may be an outstanding liability with regard to that year. Such notices or letters do not include notices issued pursuant to section 6223 relating to TEFRA partnership proceedings. A premature claim is not considered an election or request under § 1.6015-1(h)(5).
(c) Effect of a final administrative determination -
(1) In general. A requesting spouse is entitled to only one final administrative determination of relief under § 1.6015-1 for a given assessment, unless the requesting spouse properly submits a second request for relief that is described in § 1.6015-1(h)(5).
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