My soon to be ex-wife gave me permission to electronically sign our joint tax return because she expected me to give her half of the refund. Once I found out from a source that she was secretly in the process of also filing for spousal support behind my back I decided to keep the refund. She is now claiming I am stealing from her and that I signed the return for her without her permission and is going to contact the IRS and police to press fraud charges unless she gets her $ from the return. If she knew I was electronically signing for her and I have messages/emails shiwung this, can she seriously charge me with fraud for signing and/or theft for keeping the entirety of the refund?
There is nothing stopping her from alleging fraud or theft, the key to these issues is whether you can defend against them if she does. With regards to the fraud, if you have messages/emails showing that she authorized you to electronically file the return then you are likely to be able to defend against fraud accusations. However, she may argue that she only authorized you to do so if you were going to be equally splitting the refund and if you failed to do so then, conversely, she did not consent. I strongly suggest seeking counsel for the divorce and addressing these issues with your attorney as it seems the early stages are already showing signs that you need professional assistance in your corner to avoid nasty surprises later.
Please note this information is general in nature and based solely on the information you have provided. This does not constitute specific legal advice.
The signature issue is not the problem. Your soon to be ex will have to show that she had some right to part of the refund (which may not be too difficult.) By the time the authorities get around to even looking at this case, you should have it resolved through a divorce settlement.
This is not intended to be legal advice, and is general in nature.
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