taxesNo one wants to get on Uncle Sam's bad side. With the April 15th deadline looming those of us who have procrastinated will be spending the next few days, and possibly the weekend filing our taxes and crossing our fingers that a refund is in our future. If you are married filing taxes will be a joint venture but if you and your spouse are separated and in the process of going through a divorce, it is likely that you are filing solo unless your accountant has advised you to do otherwise (or you made the decision to do so).
If the two of you are on good terms you may want to consider touching base with one another. If you aren't on good terms you may want to prepare yourself for the possibility of what could happen in the event that your ex fails to meet his state and federal obligations.
According to a New York Daily News article, you could be held responsible for any back taxes your ex owes. Steven Eisman, director of a New York law firm's "matrimonial law department," states that, "What many people don't know is that if their spouse isn't keeping current with their tax payments, in the event of a divorce, they can find themselves liable for those payments." This means that any joint tax return you two may have filed is both your responsibility and your ex's. The article goes on to state that you are "jointly and individually liable" for not only the actual tax but any "additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise as a result of the joint tax return." Their source is an accurate one as this comes from the IRS.
This information trumps any documentation you might have that states otherwise. So if you and your ex have a divorce agreement that states something differently it doesn't matter. If they can't foot the bill the IRS can certainly request that you do. And when it comes to the IRS, if they call, you answer. While you could try and get "innocent spouse relief," it is said that proving you weren't aware that your spouse was under-reporting their income is no easy feat. Even so, if you weren't aware of the manner in which your ex was dealing with taxes you can look into this with the help of a tax attorney or accountant.
The fallout behind tax issues can be difficult to deal with for anyone regardless of their income bracket. A tax lien or garnishment of your wages can easily undermine your stability and it can further solidify the case for moving on when it comes to your ex. With the tax-filing deadline so close this article definitely provides some food for thought. For more on this issue visit The New York Daily News.
-By Krishann Briscoe
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