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Scenario: In Missouri a married couple is separated, but not

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Scenario: In Missouri a married couple is separated, but not divorced. They file their state tax return as married filing separately. Several years go by and the DOR says that the taxes for a year when the couple were still married were underpaid and demands payment. Are both spouses liable for the tax? If one spouse has no income or assets when the notice is received that tax is due, and is in bankruptcy, will the state collect the entire amount from the other spouse?

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The key component here is filing separate returns. The only time the state (or IRS for that matter) can hold both spouses liable is when a joint return is filed. Thus, they can only proceed against the spouse owing the taxes. The filing of a bankruptcy will not change that.

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