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Can the IRS take my refund if my ex- husband still owes back taxes and we filed jointly?

Moreno Valley, CA |
Filed under: Debt Tax law

My ex-husband and I still owe $6000.00 for 2009. We were married and filed jointly at that time. I have only been employed for 2012. I should receive a refund, but will the IRS take it and pay it towards the 2009 debt?

Attorney Answers 3


If you filed as married filing jointly then both of you are responsible for the backed taxes and the IRS can take a refund you would receive. You could look into equitable innocent spouse relief though.

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If you filed married filing join the IRS can take your refund and apply it to the 2009 debt.

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The IRS will take your refund for 2012 and apply it to the taxes you and your ex-husband still owe for 2009. The only possibility for avoiding this situation is if you can qualify for innocent spouse or injured spouse relief. You haven't stated any facts that would be relevant to that determination; however, in general it is very hard to get innocent/injured spouse relief unless you were well and truly unaware of, and had no reason to suspect, that there would be unpaid taxes in 2009.

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 dana@nytaxcounsel or visit my website at

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