Can the IRS force my husband to pay my old tax debt? 4 Answers as of August 22, 2011

I owe a large tax debt from 2002 & 2003 and am on an installment agreement plan with the IRS. Oddly, I just got a CP39 notice from the IRS stating that they applied a $577.00 overpayment of my husband's 2003 taxes to my 2002 debt. However, we filed under "married filing separately" for both tax years and do not live in a community property state so he's not liable for my debt. I wonder if it's merely a mistake or if they're trying to force my husband to pay my debt as it's getting close to the statute of limitations. I'm not sure what to do other than write to them and point out the error. I'm aghast that after all of these years they'd pull something like this.

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Steven J. Fromm
Steven J. Fromm | Steven J. Fromm & Associates, P.C.
I agree with your analysis. If as you say you have filed married filing separately the IRS cannot do what they have done. Write a letter explaining your position and see if this resolves the matter.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 8/22/2011
Law Office of Harry Gordon Oliver II
Law Office of Harry Gordon Oliver II | Harry Gordon Oliver II
Yes. They can probably apply your joint refund to unpaid tax for either spouse. Presumably, your income is community property. The IRS should be able to access your spouse's community property to pay your separate property debt. To avoid this calamity, you should consider a marital agreement that provides that your property is your separate property and your spouse's property is his separate property. Thanks.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/15/2011
Tomas Ayuban
Tomas Ayuban | Tomas Ayuban
If you and your husband filed "married/separate" for the year in question, then he cannot be held liable for your tax debt. However, if you still owe a balance and you file jointly, they can keep the refund even though part of it might be his. They should not be seizing his refunds for years in which he filed separately from you. If this is the case, I suggest you contact a tax attorney right away.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/13/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
write and point out error
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/13/2011
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