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I need to know if a divorce decree means anything to the IRS for taxes?

Arlington, SD |

I was the one that was getting all the harassing mail and calls for not paying the taxes, even though they were taxes with both mine and my ex husband's SS # on them.

Every year I filed my taxes they would take my tax returns to pay them off even though we have been divorced for 5 years.

And he may not be filing taxes because my children weren't getting claimed on any taxes per my accountant.

Attorney Answers 6

  1. The IRS does not care about the divorce decree. However, you may want to speak to an accountant or tax attorney in regard to innocent spouse relief. Also, your divorce decree should state who is entitled to claim the children. If it does not and the children are with you, then you, again, should possibly speak to another accountant as the rules regarding claiming the children are clear. Best of luck to you.

    This answer is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for your particular case nor is it intended as legal advice. I have not reviewed your case nor have I met with you and the answer to this question does not in any manner whatsoever establish an attorney/client relationship.

  2. Generally, the IRS is not going to be subject to the provisions of the decree. For specific legal advice pertaining to your situation you should consult an attorney about the facts/specifics of your case.

    This is not legal advice. This response is provided for general information only, as a public service. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship; nor is it an attempt to create an attorney/client relationship. Consult with local counsel in your jurisdiction about the specifics of your case, which is the only way to gain true meaningful legal guidance and/or representation.

  3. Since both you and your ex-husband filed a joint return, you are both responsible for the liability, even after divorce. Even if your ex-husband is responsible for the tax per the divorce decree, the IRS will still try to collect from you to pay off the tax liability.

    As the other attorneys mentioned earlier, you should contact an attorney experienced in these matters to see if you are eligible for some sort of relief, such as innocent spouse, or possibly an offer in compromise.

    Anna Barsegyan (818) 396-8272. The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice since not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.

  4. As the other attorneys have mentioned, the IRS is not bound by your divorce decree's allocation of the tax liabilities solely to your husband. When a couple files a joint return, the IRS can collect any unpaid tax or tax deficiency from either spouse. The IRS usually goes after the "lowest hanging fruit" when seeking to collect an unpaid joint income tax liability, such as against the spouse who regularly receives income tax refunds, has a regular wage or salary, has a bank account, etc. On the other hand, the IRS often takes little (or no) collection action against a spouse who is difficult to locate, has his own business, does not maintain bank accounts, is employed in the "underground" economy, etc.

    Your only way around this dilemma may be to file a Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, Form 8857, with the IRS if you qualify for one of the three forms of such relief provided. I appended Form 8857 in my answer to your previous post, along with IRS Publication 971 and other information. Good luck!

    The answer to this question does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Moreover, this attorney is licensed to practiced law ONLY in the State of California. Answers to questions from users in other jurisdictions or states are meant to provide only general information. Users should contact a local attorney in their jurisdiction or state to address their specific tax issue.

  5. As other colleagues mentioned both spouses are jointly and severally responsible for Married Filing Jointly tax returns. In other words, the answer if NO. Mr. Richard Stack provided you with the best option regarding the innocent spouse relief. Unfortunately, they may have no mercy on you, though. Another option, again a long shot, would be that you may discuss this problem, the divorce decree and the settlement with the ex and see if you get any reimbursement from him. Good luck.

  6. My colleagues all give good advice on the innocent spouse relief topic. Only point I want to make is inquire as to what your divorce decree states about sharing of tax liabilities between you and ex? Is not unusual for a good divorce lawyer to recognize this potential matter as something to deal with in terms of having one spouse indemnify the other for any tax liabilities that may arise on a joint return such as in your situation. Check your decree to see if you have recourse against ex to be able to seek recovery of the taxes you paid on behalf of the ex.

    My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained. Please click "helpful" or "best answer" if my answer added any value or add a "comment" if you have more info for me to help you get a better answer.

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