R is for resolve your tax problems- man and woman smiling

R is for Resolve Your Tax Problems Before You (re)Marry

You finally tied the knot. You are officially married. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health and for richer or for poorer… And then your dirty little secrets are mostly exposed, even one like an IRS tax debt.

We routinely are asked, “When I get married, am I responsible for my spouse’s tax debt?”

Well, the simple answer is, you may be responsible for that debt if you marry someone with a tax debt and then file a joint return. Any joint refunds can be used to pay down that debt, even if it was a premarital debt.  But what if that tax debt belongs exclusively to your spouse? Can you get back some of the joint refund? Perhaps, but you have to make a claim.

You should realize that if you were married when the tax debt was incurred, then you are both liable for the taxes owed with a few exceptions. When you file jointly, the law assumes that you have “joint and several” liability. That means you’re on the hook for any taxes your spouse owes.

If your spouse owes back taxes, the IRS or state tax department can garnish their wages without first obtaining a court order. In some cases, the amount garnished by the IRS may be more than what you expect. Before garnishing someone’s wages, the IRS will send several notices before issuing a “wage levy” to a taxpayer’s bank or employer.

But can the IRS come after me for my spouse’s taxes?

Unfortunately, yes, the IRS can seize your house or assets, even if your spouse is the one who owes money to the IRS. This only happens if the debt was incurred during a year where you filed jointly on your tax return.

However, You can dispute the liability of your spouse’s back tax problem.

The IRS offers two options to provide relief to spouses who were taxed on their spouse’s behalf: Innocent Spouse Relief and Injured Spouse Relief.

  • Innocent Spouse Relief can be offered if a spouse failed to report income, claimed improper credits or deductions, or falsely reported income. An innocent spouse is married to someone who deliberately lied to the federal government by misreporting or hiding income or claiming too many deductions or credits to lower their tax bill. Certain conditions must be met to qualify.
  • Injured Spouse is where you can claim that all of the debt pertains to your spouse. It becomes a complicated mathematical formula to see how much of the joint debt belongs to which spouse. The non-liable spouse may get some relief from the debt if the numbers work out.

Jeffrey Schneider, EA, CTRS, and The Tax Relief Company can help you or your spouse take care of your back taxes.

The IRS wants to resolve tax debt problems quickly and encourages people who owe back taxes to choose one of the following options:

  • A properly structured payment plan payment plans that fit your budget, or
  • Offer in Compromise (settling for paying less than what you owe.

Stop spending sleepless nights counting sheep and worrying about owing the IRS back taxes.

If your new spouse failed to file previous tax returns, The Tax Relief Company could help you file the delinquent tax returns. If the amount owed is large and you’re having trouble paying, let Jeffrey Schneider, EAS, CTRS, help you or your spouse resolve your back tax problem. Call us today to get your life back. 877-355-8010.