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Ask Lane Your Own Question

Lane
Lane, JD, CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 4161
Experience:  Juris Doctorate, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
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Can the irs include my wife in tax collection if we never filed

Resolved Question:

Can the irs include my wife in tax collection if we never filed taxes together?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lane replied 1 year ago.

Lane :

Hi,

Lane :

Technically, she isn't liable if you never file jointly

Lane :

However, if you have any accounts that are jointly owned they may be able to attach to satisfy oyour debt

Lane :

If you ever filed jointly, that is called "joint and several" liability ... where you are both liable for the bill, and collectin efforst can include EITHER of your income or assets

Lane :

BUT, about the ONLY reasn that married spouses should file jointly is to keep those tax liabilities separate

Lane :

sorry (fte only reason to file SEPARATELY ...

Customer:

Where can I find this in the tax code

Lane :

Btt, again, assets that are owned jointly or in what's called "in the entirety" may be suceptible

Lane :

Hang on and I'ee get you the citations

Lane :

First the Joint and several liability:

Lane :


(a) In general. (1) An individual who qualifies and elects under section 6013 to file a joint Federal income tax return with another individual is jointly and severally liable for the joint Federal income tax liabilities for that year. A spouse or former spouse may be relieved of joint and several liability for Federal income tax for that year under the following three relief provisions:




(i) Innocent spouse relief under § 1.6015–2.





(ii) Allocation of deficiency under § 1.6015–3.





(iii) Equitable relief under § 1.6015–4.





26 C.F.R. § 1.6015–1
Lane :

Internal Revenue

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Parties

Internal Revenue

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Trial, Judgment, and Review



One fundamental characteristic of joint and several tax liability is that IRS may proceed against taxpayers separately and may obtain separate judgments against each. 26 U.S.C.A. §6015(a).






Mora v. C.I.R., 117 T.C. 279 (Tax 2001)

Lane :

Quite honestly, I'm having trouble findin an actual stature or court case that specifies that married filing spearately WILL NOT cause a liability on the other person, but typically the law doesn't really work that way... they tell you when you are liable.... not, when you're not

Lane :

We can probably "back into it" hang on another sec...

Customer:

k

Lane :

See this from Intuit:

Lane :
Filing separately to guard the future

When you don't want to be liable for your partner's tax bill, choosing the married-filing-separately status offers financial protection: the IRS won't apply your refund to your spouse's balance due. Separate returns make sense to prevent the IRS from seizing a spouse's refund when the other has fallen behind on child support payments.


Couples in the process of divorcing may shun joint returns to avoid post-divorce complications with the IRS, while a spouse who questions her partner's tax ethics may feel more comfortable living a separate tax life.

Customer:

I have run into a lot of lies from the irs. I was looking for a concrete answer to that

Lane :

Here we go: (From IRS)

Lane :

Again, kind of backing into ti:

Lane :
RS did not abuse its discretion by denying equitable innocent spouse relief for taxpayer, still married to nonrequesting spouse, for unpaid self-employment taxes, even though those taxes were attributable to nonrequesting spouse; taxpayer proffered no evidence contradicting IRS's contention of no economic hardship from denial of relief, taxpayer had been aware of large judgments against her and nonrequesting spouse at time she signed joint returns, indicating reason to know that tax liability would not be paid, and taxpayer had failed to comply with income tax laws for certain years after years at issue. 26 U.S.C.A. § 6015(f); 26 C.F.R. §(NNN) NNN-NNNN1(b)(4); Rev. Proc. 2000-15, § 4.03, 2000-1 C.B. 447.


Butner v. C.I.R., 93 T.C.M. (CCH) 1290 (Tax 2007)

Lane :

Again the reason they COULDm was the joint return

Lane :

Here's what XXXXX XXXXX, enrolled agent says ...

Lane :

Does it make sense to file separately? There is one clear benefit of filing separately. By filing a separate return, the taxpayer is solely responsible for the accuracy and payment of tax related to that separate return. By contrast, on a jointly filed return, both spouses are jointly responsible for the accuracy of the return and the payment of tax. A spouse who is unwilling to assume legal and financial responsibility for the other spouse's tax obligations should strongly consider filing separately.


Lane :

Again, this is really an issue of debtor creditor law rather than anything in title 26 of the US code (Internal revenue code, IRC)... IRC, again deals with what they CAN do ... debtor creditor law (a state law issue) says )in very non-community property law state, that when only one person signe a legal agreement as to income (a form or property) only they are liable

Customer:

I think I got what im looking for. Thank you so much

Lane :

Here's another of Mr Perez's article on the subject, again he is an Enrolled Agent: http://taxes.about.com/b/2009/02/13/when-does-it-make-sense-for-married-couples-to-file-separately.htm

Lane :

One more just to provide a littl more documentation:



Since filing a joint return requires the consent of both spouses, it might sometimes make sense to not be included on your spouse’s tax return. Signing a joint tax return makes you both responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the return and obligates you for any current or future tax liability or penalties.


There are specific situations when it can be better to file separately. These include:



  • When you need to separate your tax liability from your spouse. If you file separately, you will only be responsible for the accuracy and payment of taxes for your own return.

  • In certain situations when there is a large disparity between incomes of the spouses. This may result in a combined lower tax situation, but usually only in separate (non-community) property states. See Married Filing Separately in a Community Property State section below.


If you are not sure, complete your taxes both ways to see which one may be best for you.

Lane :

Hope tis has helped

Lane :

If this HAS helped, I would appreciate a feedback rating of 3 (OK) or better … That's the only way they will pay us here.


HOWEVER, if you need more on this, PLEASE COME BACK here, so you won't be charged for another question.

Customer:

I surely will Thank you

Lane, JD, CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 4161
Experience: Juris Doctorate, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
Lane and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you

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