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Domestic and Financial Abuse: Advising Clients When Facing the IRS

Domestic and Financial Abuse: Advising Clients When Facing the IRS

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Although it is less commonly understood than other forms of intimate partner violence, financial abuse ranks as one of the most powerful methods of keeping a victim trapped in an abusive relationship. Research shows that victims often are reluctant to end an abusive relationship because they are concerned about their financial security or their ability to provide financially for themselves and their children. Financial abuse involves controlling a victim's ability to acquire, access, and maintain financial resources or other economic safety nets. Victims of this form of abuse may have their education or job opportunities hijacked, be required to hand over their paychecks, and/or be intentionally kept in the dark about finances. In some cases, victims may have their credit destroyed. Others may face frightening tax consequences because of the abuse they endured. Financial abuse, particularly when coupled with other forms of coercive control and emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, is deeply damaging with effects that last long after the toxic relationship has ended. 


Attorneys that address financial issues (such as tax, divorce, spousal and child support, bankruptcy, and trust, estate and consumer matters) need to be able to recognize and respond to this form of abuse in their practice. 


With a focus on financial abuse and federal income taxes, this program will explore:


Part I


• What is financial abuse?

• What are the tactics of abuse?

• Recognize and support domestic violence-involved clients in your legal practice


Part II


The IRS provides detailed procedures for certain individuals who are divorced or legally separated from a spouse to obtain equitable relief from joint liability for tax deficiencies and underpayments with respect to joint tax returns. These individuals (known as "innocent spouses") may be able to obtain relief if, under all the facts and circumstances, it would be inequitable to hold them responsible for the outstanding tax liability. This section will provide an introduction to the Innocent Spouse rules, the process for applying for relief under these rules, how domestic violence may be considered in applications for relief, and the IRS' current views regarding the relative relevance of different types of abuse.  


Megan L. Brackney, Esq., Kostelanetz & Fink

Laura Russell, Esq., Legal Aid Society of New York City

Amy Schwartz-Wallace, Esq., Empire Justice Center

Section Member Price: $40.00 Join (or renew) for special member pricing
Non-Member Price: $100.00
Published Date:
  • December 8, 2021
  • Online On-Demand
Product Code:
  • VLL81
Areas Of Professional Practice Credit(s):
  • 1.5
Total Credit(s):
  • 1.5