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My Spouse Has IRS Tax Debt, Am I Liable?

Marriage and tax debt can be a complicated combination. When married couples file their taxes as individuals, they are individually liable to pay their respective taxes. However, most couples often choose to file their taxes jointly because of the tax advantages they can take.

Potential Tax Liability

But even though filing taxes jointly may sound like a better financial decision, it is not entirely free of problems. Both partners could be liable for the tax debt that both partners have for example. Also, the dissolution of marriage or death of either partner does not absolve either partner from accrued tax debt.

Tax debt accrued by divorcing couples is like any other marital debt, in most cases. For example, a mortgage balance, credit card bills, etc. With that said, it is important to understand that;

  • The death of either partner in a marriage doesn’t necessarily guarantee Tax relief by the Internal Revenue Service, IRS. So, if your former spouse — divorced or dead — had IRS debts, they can come after you.
  • If there is a local law or divorce settlement that mandates equal sharing of debts, then the debts will be divided equally between the separating partners.
  • After a spouse’s death, if the surviving spouse is the deceased spouse’s executor, then the spouse is responsible for filing their final taxes. The government may also attempt to claim any tax debt out of the diseased estate.
  • If a spouse dies while owing taxes filed separately during marriage, the surviving spouse will not be held liable by the IRS for the dead spouse debt.
  • The IRS will not hold a surviving spouse liable for back taxes if the spouse is documented as the deceased heir. By law, heirs are not obligated to pay the taxes of the deceased.

Don’t Let This Happen to You

While some rules regarding tax debt in marriage are quite clear, a lot of them may not be. Unfortunately, this can lead to misinterpretation and problems with the IRS. Sometimes, the IRS may not honor divorce agreements regarding paying off tax debts. Also, even in states with equitable division rules, judges may choose to share the accrued debts unequivocally leading to an uneven burden on one spouse.

Tax Debt? Help Is on the Way

With so much uncertainty surrounding marital tax debt, it’s important to seek the help of qualified tax professionals. If your deceased spouse’s tax debt represents a potential financial problem, a good tax resolution company can help you out. Ideal Tax Solution, ITS, has a goal and that is to help individuals suffering from any form of tax debt issues. Staffed with experienced tax experts and attorneys, ITS will effectively help you navigate tax debts accrued during marriages.

In conclusion, it may seem like some marital tax debt are unavoidable. However, a closer look by tax experts could unearth legal grounds for tax. ITS will sieve through your marital tax data, identify grounds for relief or total exemption and if necessary, help you litigate your way to freedom.

We provide professional guidance to people whose lives have been affected by tax problems. To evaluate your specific tax issue and determine if you qualify for tax relief, please contact us for a free consultation. We are COVID-19 prepared, our Senior Tax Analyst will work with you over the phone and via e-mail.   

The content of this post does not replace the advice of a licensed tax professional. Consult a qualified tax professional for questions specific to your individual circumstances.

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