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Stephen G.
Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert
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Experience:  Extensive Experience with Tax, Financial & Estate Issues
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My husband and I (we are now divorced) owe back taxes due to

Customer Question

My husband and I (we are now divorced) owe back taxes due to him and his accountant trying to list our beach condo as rental property which it was not. I signed the joint return even though I questioned why they were doing this so I am being held responsible too. My argument is that we had filed a joint return for the last 27 years of our marriage and I mistakenly trusted that they were doing something that was of no concern. Wrong! In the divorce I was granted his fire dept. private pension and he kept the house that is valued at $300-$400,000.00. Can the IRS garnish the pension I receive for my part as I own nothing I can sell. Will they just attach a lien to the house and make him pay his part when he sells the house one day?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Stephen G. replied 3 years ago.
Hi & thanks for using our service. I'll do my best to give you a complete & accurate answer. Please ask me to clarify anything you don't understand.

Unfortunately, the IRS can collect from whomever it is the easiest to collect from. Is it a lot of money that is owed on prior years where you were a party to a joint return?

Was the "beach condo" your primary residence? Or was it a vacation home & if so what happened to it?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I would think it would be easiest to collect from my ex-husband since he owns real estate and I do not. I am not trying to be unfair but I was in fear of my husband at the time I signed the joint return because he had become verbally abusive and very controlling. I shared this with the IRS but they do not care and say that I willingly signed the return knowing it had been incorrectly compiled by my ex-husband and his accountant who he was having an affair with at that time. I asked him why he was showing our vacation beach condo as rental property when it was our second home and he said it was to try and save on what we would owe the IRS. There was no way he was going to let me file a separate return and I truly felt I had no choice. I was given the beach condo in the divorce settlement but sold it at a huge loss while my ex-husband has been able to keep the house and I rent an apartment.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I meant to add that I live in North Carolina and I think the agent said the total due is about $14,000.00 They are giving me innocent spouse relief for the taxes he owes on the business he owned because I did not sign that return...he lied on both returns.
Expert:  Stephen G. replied 3 years ago.
What you or I think who or what is the easiest to collect from doesn't matter, it is what the IRS collection agent finds is the easiest way to collect the tax; they tend to go after the most liquid assets available, rather than waiting until something is sold or otherwise liquidated.

The may lien against your ex-husband's real property, but still attempt to collect he funds from you.

The tax preparer has a potential problem here too; perhaps you(or your attorney) should discuss this aspect with your ex-husband & suggest that unless he borrows whatever money he needs to borrow to meet this obligation, you will be forced to notify the IRS of the circumstances surrounding he and his accountant conspiring to claim the condo as rental property.

Please remember to "Accept", it is the only way we get credit for our work. Feedback, if you have time, and bonuses, where you think they are warranted, are always most appreciated.

I'll be happy to answer any follow-up questions you may have.

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Stephen G.
Stephen G.
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Extensive Experience with Tax, Financial & Estate Issues