Does my fiance still have to pay taxes from when he was married and why? 7 Answers as of August 17, 2015

Back in 2010 my fiance was married, he and his spouse filed their 2010 taxes, late in October 2011.They filed married joint, and the fed says they owe $4,000.00 in taxes, however they divorced and it became final October 2013. His ex refuses to pay anything and is leaving him with all the debt. My tax adviser says that he should not be responsible to pay the entire amount, he should only have to pay half of the amount they owed to the fed. Is this true? If we get married will I have to owe this money too?

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JV Law Group, LLP
JV Law Group, LLP | Julie Jung
When you file a joint tax return with your spouse, BOTH taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for any and all taxes, penalties and interest. Joint and several liability means that EACH taxpayer is legally responsible for the FULL amount of the tax liability. Thus, your tax advisor is incorrect. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can go after your fiance for the full amount of the tax liability, even if he pays ?his half.? The IRS does not care if your fiance and his ex-wife had an agreement to pay half or if the divorce decree states each will pay half, etc. If, for instance, their divorce decree states that each will pay half and your fiance pays half while his ex-wife does not, the IRS can still levy your fiance's bank accounts and/or garnish his wages. So, if your fiance wants to avoid such issues and future issues with the IRS, he can pay the full liability, then sue his ex-wife in court to get her half. Unless your fiance qualifies for relief, such as Innocent Spouse Relief, Separation of Liability Relief or Equitable Relief, the IRS can go after your fiance, his ex-wife, or both.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2015
Andrew Gordon
Andrew Gordon | Andrew Gordon
If he filed jointly, the IRS will look to either spouses for the tax payment. Although the divorce decree may say they are half responsible, with respect to the IRS each party is jointly and severally liable. Meaning that the IRS may collect all from one person.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/17/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Did the divorce decree address the back taxes? If so, then the divorce decree controls. If the divorce decree doesn't address the back taxes, then both are liable for the full amount. However, the IRS can split the tax liability between divorced spouses. If the liability arose at least in part from her income less her payments, then he would only be responsible for paying his share and she would be responsible for her share. For example, if his wages were $40,000 and $$3,500 was withheld and her wages were $60,000 and $1,000 was withheld. There were no deductions or other income. If their joint tax was $8,000. His responsibility is $3,200 ($8,000 tax times 40%). Since he already paid $3,500 he won't have to pay any more and she'll be responsible for the whole amount (you can't get a refund in this program).
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/17/2015
Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
He owes $,000, his ex owes $4,000, and together they owe $4,000. The IRS CAN COLLECT IT WHEREVER THEY CAN FIND IT. If in reality, each of them should be paying half, then, if IRS collects all from him, he can try to recover the other half, $2,000, from her, but that won't be the IRS's business.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/14/2015
Polsinelli Shughart PC | William B. Prugh
The divorce decree or settlement agreement spells out which spouse owed the back taxes. However, that does not bind the IRS, and they can seek full payment from either or both spouses. You are not responsible for his tax liability, and you should check with a tax advisor or preparer to see if 1) you should file separately in future years and 2) how to keep your assets & property separate from his in the meantime.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/14/2015
    Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C. | James E. Reed
    As between the tax payers & the IRS, both spouses owe the entire amount. In other words, the IRS can collect all from him or all from her or part from each. Whatever the IRS wants to do. If he pays it all, he may well have a claim against her for repayment of ? of the amt. he paid, unless their divorce decree says something else, which it might. By marrying him, you won't become responsible to pay any portion of this obligation, but, if you file a tax return with him and it shows a refund due, the IRS can keep the refund to apply against his debt.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Notify your insurer, I hope you have uninsured motorist coverage. You may also wish to call an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2015
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