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Can the IRS can attach my Fiance's Social Security when we get married?

Orlando, FL |
Filed under: Tax law

IRS Question: I am getting married in a few months. My fiance is 65 and retired. I am a freelance artist and barely make enough to get by on. The IRS claims that I owe just under $75,000 in back income taxes from approximately 10-13 years ago. I could never come close to paying that amount. I had two good years where I made $98,000 and approx. $54,000 respectively. This was the years just after my Dad's unexpected death and during a time when my Mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Most of the money made was spent on caring for my mom and extending her life expectancy. I was a bad time and I do not have the money to fight the IRS or the records to contradict their claims. My income has dwindled to nothing over the past couple of years from the economy and we are living off of my fiance's meager social security as I look for work.

The IRS has recently filed for a lien, but I have no assets. Frankly, I've seen what the IRS has done to others and they terrify me. I can't afford to defend against it and can't afford to pay anything.

I have been wiped out by the economy. I'm concerned that when we get married, that the IRS can attach my Fiance's Social Security. Can they? If so what happens?

Attorney Answers 2


The short answer is no, the IRS cannot seize your fiancee's social security, or any of her other assets for that matter - so long as she doesn't give you an interest in them - to satisfy your tax debts; those tax debts are your debts, not hers, and cannot be collected from her.

Beyond that, however, did you file tax returns for the years the IRS says you owe taxes for? If you did, you may have some options to deal with the tax debts. You should seriously consider consulting with competent local tax counsel to get an idea of what your actual options may be. A consultation won't give you a complete answer, but it also won't commit you to having to pay a lot of legal fees just because you consulted with someone.

My answer does not constitute legal advice and may not be relied upon by anyone for any purpose and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship or an offer to form such a relationship. This disclaimer is intended to be fully compliant with the requirements of Treasury Department Circular 230 and the terms thereof are fully incorporated by reference. If you wish to consult with me please contact me at dwatchley@newyorktaxcounsel or visit my website at

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As Attorney Atchley pointed out, it is important that once you are married (and even before really) you do not co-mingle money in joint bank accounts or other assets, once the monies are mingled the IRS might come after them - this would then require you to put forth the effort and evidence to show which monies / assets are yours alone versus which belong solely to your spouse versus which are marital property.

Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.

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