Skip to main content

Tax debt from ex husband's income

Lancaster, CA |

When we were married I filed jointly with my now ex husband. Through his poor planning, the amount owed was substantial. I was not employed during this time. Now that we are divorced, the IRS is coming after me for the money. What do I need to do to get them off my back? I was not employed and had no income during the years they are trying to collect. The divorce paperwork states he is responsible for any tax debt. I tried filing for Innocent Spouse Relief but it was rejected. What would relieve me from this debt?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


The answer here normally would be filing innocent spouse relief. If it was rejected, then you may have a problem here. Did you file this on your own or did you have a tax attorney involved? If you filed it on your own are you aware that there are 3 different innocent spouse alternatives that needed to be explored? Depending on this answer and the statute of limitations, there may be grounds for appeal, if warranted. If this is a complete dead end, then your options would be an offer in compromise or declaring bankruptcy. You need to meet with a tax attorney to go over your situation in detail and to explore your options.

Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the thumbs up (helpful) tab below and/or designate my answer as best answer. Thanks.
Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website is . and his blog is >

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website is and his blog is <> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.


In addition to the excellent answer above, are they going after your ex too? You can waive the divorce decree at the IRS and point them to your ex but that won't matter to them. You are jointly and severally liable, meaning both or either of you has to pay. If you did not succeed in any of the innocent spouse areas, you are going to have to pay it, start a payment plan and stick with it, see if it dischargeable in bankruptcy or file an Offer in Compromise which is a detailed itemization to the IRS offering to pay less than is owed. The IRS only accepts these if there is doubt as to liability or doubt as to collectablilty. I will say.that it does require you to tell them where all your assets are and THEN they decide if they will accept it. So if they say now, they really have all they need to start collections. Bottom line is you need to handle this and THEN see an attorney to sue your ex to enforce the contract. Of course, he may just file bankruptcy. Tough place to be. Good luck.

Use the web site to find an attorney in your area. In addition to that, contact your local bar association for referral to an attorney who specializes in this or talk to friends and neighbors to ask about an attorney they have used and liked. Often, but not always, the attorney will do an initial consultation free of charge. You will then be in a better position to determine what to do next. Best of luck to you!

If you liked this answer, click on the thumbs up! Thanks. Eliz. C. A. Johnson Post Office Box 8 Danville, California 94526-0008 Legal disclaimer: I do not practice law in any state but California. As such, any responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to a general understanding of law in California and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as legal advice can only be provided in circumstances in which the attorney is able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather appropriate information.


I agree with attorney Fromm. Your first line of defense in a situation such is this is to file for innocent spouse relief. Unless you somehow benefited from the unreported income you should be granted the relief. You may have missed the deadline which is 2 years. Other options if you are unable to receive innocent spouse relief are a payment plan, offer in compromise, and possibly bankruptcy. While you still may have options available you should consult with a tax attorney.

Mr. Lively is a California tax attorney that is certified as a specialist in taxation by the State Bar of California. He is available to assist clients with IRS and other tax problems. He can be reached at 714-708-2593 or

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.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer