What's worse than a cheating spouse? One that is also cheating on your joint tax return!
Sometimes innocent mistakes happen - for example one spouse may "forget" he or she had student loan debt which is in default. Or prior to marriage, an unpaid tax bill that went neglected.
When innocent mistakes happen -- or worse, when one spouse is creating a fraudulent tax return with YOUR name on it, you can end up on the receiving end of the wrath of the IRS. This is never a great feeling, and it can end up costing you thousands of dollars at best -- and at worst it can turn into garnishment, liens or seizures of your personal property.
Even when the mistake was truly a mistake, and spouses are happily married -- the IRS will still seize any tax refund that is on a joint return, to pay the obligation. Often, a case can be made to separate the spouse that was not at fault (i.e. the "innocent spouse"), and gain relief from overzealous actions by the IRS.
Innocent Spouse Relief is one of the more complex plays a taxpayer may undertake with the IRS. State laws concerning community property can come into the picture. There are time limits by which a request must be formulated and presented to the IRS. There are a litany of facts and circumstances that must be evaluated and considered to make an effective case with the IRS to grant tax relief to one spouse. Furthermore, there are disclosure rules that the IRS must adhere to when one spouse files a claim.
Don't go this alone, or leave this in the hands of an inexperienced tax preparer. Contact us as soon as you are aware of a situation where you need to attempt to disconnect your tax situation from your current or ex-spouse.