2000-15, the requesting spouse's actual knowledge or reason to know of the item giving rise to a deficiency or that a reported liability would not be paid, weighed heavily against granting relief.
First, he would be considered to have reason to know of M's income because he knew of the source or activity generating it (in fact, he helped M account for the income in prior years).
(Actual knowledge would be an extremely strong factor against granting equitable relief.) A does have reason to know of the income but this does not disqualify A's eligibility for relief (as with traditional relief), because it is only one negative factor to be considered along with all other factors.
A taxpayer is deemed to have knowledge of an omission if a reasonably prudent person could be expected to know of it.
* Did not know or have reason to know of the omission.
* Deficiency cases, in which the requesting spouse did not know and had no reason to know of
the item giving rise to the deficiency.
* The innocent spouse must establish that, in signing the return, he or she did not know of, and had no reason to know of, the omission.
However, in a similar case, the Eleventh Circuit sided with the Tax Court in determining a wife had reason to know of a substantial understatement and did not qualify for innocent spouse treatment.
The requesting spouse established that at the time that the return was signed, he had no knowledge or reason to know of a tax understatement;
6015(b), that the requesting spouse had no knowledge or reason to know of a tax understatement at the time the taxpayers filed the joint return, was considered by the Tax Court in Butler, 114 TC 276 (2000).
In Stevens, the Eleventh Circuit listed four criteria, based on numerous prior cases, to determine whether a spouse had reason to know of the substantial understatement: (1) level of education, (2) involvement in the family's finances, (3) presence of expenditures that appear lavish or unusual when compared to the family's past level of income, standard of living and spending patterns; and (4) the culpable spouse's evasiveness and deceit concerning the family finances.(16)
Thus, should a spouse have reason to know of a substantial understatement if the other spouse is not evasive but she is not involved with the family finances?