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I owe $50,000 irs debt will my fiance inherit my debt? she works i dont. im a student. we live in california. thank you.

San Francisco, CA |
Attorney answers 3


When you get married your fiance/new wife does not inherit your previous tax debt. However, if you file a joint return in the future the IRS could keep your refund from the joint tax return. It may be best to file separately until this issue is resolved. Also, you should keep your assets that you bring into the marriage separate until this is resolved to prevent the IRS from levying on jointly owned assets. The collection statute of limitations for the IRS is 10 years from the date the tax was assessed.

Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.


Your tax debt prior to marriage is normally your debt after the marriage and not the debt of your spouse. You might consider a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage.Texas community income from wages can be subject to levy for the debt of the other spouse.

This answer is not legal advice.and does not constitute tax advice. This answer does not provide advice related to tax shelters. Consult an attorney for legal or tax advice.


California is a community property state.

The tax debt that you bring into the marriage will not automatically become the debt of your new wife. However, this can change over time. This tax debt can be satisfied by community property, which includes most property which is acquired by either you or your wife during marriage.

Your wife’s earnings therefore can be used to satisfy your separate tax debt. However, if she segregates her earnings (by not commingling the money with your money), she can protect her earnings. Also, if she brings property into the marriage that is hers only, she can do certain things to “transmute” the property into community property — and put that property at risk.

Also, as stated previously, any refunds due from future jointly filed tax returns will be used to pay down your $50,000 tax debt. And since you don’t work, this refund will essentially be withholdings that were taken from your fiance/wife’s salary.

In any instance, you are definitely putting her at risk by marrying her.

Possible Solutions:
1. Since you don’t work and have no income, and since the tax debt is 6 years old, you likely will be able to discharge the tax debt by filing for bankruptcy.
2. Or, if your financial situation is weak, you may be able to compromise the tax debt by filing for an Offer in Compromise. This is an application directly to the IRS to reduce the debt to a lump sum pay off.
3. Or finally, you can remain unmarried until the tax debt “expires.” The collection statute of limitations expires 10 years from the date the tax is assessed — which is when the tax becomes final in the IRS books. You must have filed the tax return for the collection statute to run; tax assessed by a tax return filed by the IRS will not expire. Just call the IRS directly and ask them for the “CSED” — the Collection Statute Expiration Date. They should give this to you without any hassle. That is the date after which you can begin enjoying wedded bliss without burdening your wife.

Legal disclaimer: This answer is not legal advice nor does it constitute tax advice. Consult an attorney for legal or tax advice.

Stuart S Hong

Stuart S Hong


Naturally, if you file for a bankruptcy, your credit score/rating will be adversely affected. However, if you file while you are still single, ONLY your credit is hurt. The credit score of your fiance/future wife will remain unaffected by your bankruptcy. When you marry, you can use her credit scores to purchase a home, auto, etc..

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