This is general information only. IRS and State tax liability can be complicated. You may want to discuss with a tax preperer filing an Innocent Spouse Claim to protect your right to refunds. You do not say what kind of business ownership your husband had. Corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship? Some company debts can never be assessed against the individual officer and/or owner. But payroll taxes are a very special case. In this case both IRS and State (if the State has income tax) normally consider the official personally liable for all debts incurred by a company in regards to payroll withholding. Also any workers who were issued W-2's which stated money was withdrawn from their pay to pay their taxes and it was not done has a legal claim for fraud against the person who did that. This is a serious matter and if not resolved can lead to a judgment lien on the home and any other asset which has his name. I strongly advise both of you to sit down with a tax preparer and attorney to resolve this. At the present time there are specially trained lawyers and accountants who can negotiate these debts with the Government.