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If my significant other owes back taxes and we get married before it is settled, will my small business be held responsible?

Dumont, NJ |

I have a small business and my significant other is in the process of settling a tax issue. If we get married before the settlement, will that change his financial status and will my small business be in any way responsible for his tax issue?

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Attorney answers 3


If your small business is a corporation and he has no interest in it, then the tax entities cannot get at it. However, if you were to file jointly, the refunds would be subject to seizure. For anything more specific, you should really talk to a tax specialist.

Mr. Goldstein is a Virginia-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Mitchell Goldstein or the Goldstein Law Group does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege until otherwise advised.


Unless you have a TARDIS and your betrothal rights are celebrated in Dickensian England, you are safe from assuming the debts of your fiancé upon marriage.

(I assume you are not co-obligated on these debts & that your intended will NOT be added as a co/partial owner on your business).


You would be wise to speak to a tax adviser about how best to proceed.

Technically, the tax debt your significant other brings to the marriage is HIS obligation. That said, there are actions you could take which would blur that clear distinction and open YOU to liability.

Depending on your business structure, e.g. sole proprietor, LLC, etc., that liability may or may not impact your business finances even if the tax authority cannot reach the business directly.

In answer to your second question, if your significant other is pursuing an Offer in Compromise to settle his tax debt, your marriage could change his financial status because the IRS (assuming this is a federal income tax debt) looks at the entire household to determine income and expense for purposes of negotiating the offer.

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I am licensed to practice law in CA & TX, and my office is located in San Diego, CA. I am providing this response for your general information. This response is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. I invite you to contact Rábago Law. However, communication through this website does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not protected by the attorney-client confidentiality rules.