This is a frequent problem. You’re not alone. Financial obligations, bad marriages and divorce seem to meld together into an ugly, painful mess. The innocent spouse gets stuck holding the bag for the schmuck spouse that created the mess. Fortunately, the IRS offers a way out for the innocent spouse.
If you have a divorce decree that states your ex is responsible for the tax obligations, that agreement has some influence with the IRS, and yet it is not going to make the tax problem just go away. The IRS will consider other factors like what you knew about the unpaid taxes, your involvement as an income earner, was there abuse, and how much you benefited from the income that created the tax liability for which the IRS is pursuing you.
Furthermore, if you can show that your signature on the joint return was forged or that you signed the return under fraud or duress, the IRS will convert your joint liability to a separate one, and you will be off the hook for paying your ex spouses’ tax debt.
And remember, other tax solutions are available if the innocent spouse solution doesn’t get it resolved. Consider tax solutions such as the offer in compromise, partial pay, hardship, bankruptcy and a collection time limit defense.
Bottom line is there is no such thing as a hopeless tax case. Get a free copy of the Faith Firm book, How to Get Tax Forgiveness.