Not necessarily. Most married couples file one return together with both you and your spouse’s income and deductions on it. Tax problems occur when the IRS contacts you for under reported income, unpaid taxes, underpaid taxes, improper deductions, or some other issue on the return. Even if these issues were caused by your ex, the IRS will consider you equally responsible.
Even if you later divorce, you can be on the hook. And even if a divorce decree states that your former spouse is responsible for any tax debt from previously filed joint returns, you can still be on the hook.
However, here is the good news. You may be entitled to relief from your spouses’ liability if you can show the IRS that you are an “innocent spouse.” Innocent spouse relief is a fairness doctrine. It weighs several factors in determining whether, in fairness, the innocent spouse should be held responsible for the spouse who created the mess.
We would be happy to discuss how you may qualify for innocent spouse relief.
Get a free copy of the Faith Firm book, How to Get Tax Forgiveness. It will shed some more light on solving tough tax problems. Remember, there is no such thing as a hopeless tax case.