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Am I responsible for deceased husband's tax return payment?

Marlton, NJ |
Filed under: Divorce

Spouse & I were going thru divorce. I filed my 2011 taxes as single because he wouldn't provide tax info & I needed to file FAFSA for sons college. I claimed support payments as alimony because thats how they were listed with NJ support. Spouse's accountant just completed spouse's taxes filed as single & spouse owes money. Am I responsible for the tax amount owed?

My spouse passed away in April 2012; divorce was not final.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. I am sorry that you are going through this. if the divorce was not final and you and your husband are deemed jointly and severally responsible for the debts related to any marital estatate you may be held responsible. You have a decent argument that you filed as a single person, however you were still married according to the law. Please meet with a local NJ attny and go over the specifics, it will be worth your time. take care and I am sorry for your loss.

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


  2. I agree with the prior answer. However, the IRS offers this advice:

    "There are three types of relief from joint and several liability for spouses who filed joint returns:

    Innocent Spouse Relief provides you relief from additional tax you owe if your spouse or former spouse failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits.

    Separation of Liability Relief provides for the allocation of additional tax owed between you and your former spouse or your current spouse from whom you are separated because an item was not reported properly on a joint return. The tax allocated to you is the amount for which you are responsible.

    Equitable Relief may apply when you do not qualify for innocent spouse relief or separation of liability relief for something not reported properly on a joint return and generally attributable to your spouse. You may also qualify for equitable relief if the correct amount of tax was reported on your joint return but the tax remains unpaid."

    I would contact an attorney or CPA right away in order to determine if you can apply for relief. Deadlines apply so do not wait.Good luck.


  3. Best would be to meet with a good CPA to sort things out for you.

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  4. It sounds like no. But you may need to go back and amend your tax return as Married Filing Separately. If your son is a dependent, and you lived apart for the last six months of 2011, you can likely claim Head of Household under Section 7703(b) and you are no longer married for tax purposes. But you NEED to make sure you did it correctly.

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  5. Wow, that is an intriguing issue. You should not only meet with an attorney but an accountant. Most likely, yes.

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  6. You live in Marlton. Brenda Eutsler is the President of the Camden County Bar Association and is who we refer all our estate matters to. She will help you through this. Good luck

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