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Lane
Lane, JD, CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3894
Experience:  Juris Doctorate, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
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I need advise regarding filing taxes with my spouse or separately.

Resolved Question:

I need advise regarding filing taxes with my spouse or separately. Live in Texas, husband has some back taxes that he owes from many years ago. IRS lien on house otherwise no further action. He has been current paying his taxes now for almost 3 years but there are the back tax issues. He has worked with an accountant who has negotiated with the IRS. We have only been married for two years therefore the back unpaid taxes were before we married. We have separate bank accounts and have not filed together thus far. I typically get a refund but this year I am going to owe 8,000-11,000 depending on my filing status, and yes...we both filed extensions. Can I be held liable for his back taxes prior to our marriage? Is it OK to file together? Does being married in Texas already make me responsible due to community property state? What negative issue could arise from filing together?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Lane replied 10 months ago.

Lane :

First ..... none

Lane :

ITS looks at there issue as tax year by tgax year issue

Lane :

As long as you did not file jointly in those years , you wil be ifine

Lane :

(sorry for the typos)

Lane :

Again, they look at each tax year as a separate issue

Lane :

Now, youSHOULD be awatre that any refund generated from a current year (involving him) COULD be attached because of a previous tax year issue

Customer :

OK, so I understand you saying filing together will not make me liable for past as we did not file together in the years he owes back taxes. Moving forward and filing jointly may void any refund coming to us but rather being applied to back taxes. As long as he remains current with his taxes now we should not have any issues, correct?

Lane :

That

Lane :

's right

Customer :

Great! Our accountant felt pretty confident but he doesn't usually work with a lot of back tax issues. I appreciate your time.

Lane :

Yes, they will hold you "joint and severally liable" on;l for years where you both file (jointly)

Lane :

Bu again, IF you have refund from a year where you file jointly....they an attach THAT (only that) to satisfy back taxes

Lane :

(His) back taxes

Customer :

Thanks!

Lane :

You're welcome!

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 :

You've been great and I will make sure to rate you as you deserve.

Lane :

Thank you so much!

Lane :

If you'd like to work with ME again just say "For Lane only," at the beginning of your next question



OR set me up as your preferred expert on your home page.



Thanks again,


Lane

Lane, JD, CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3894
Experience: Juris Doctorate, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
Lane and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Lane replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for the rating!

Lane



Customer: replied 10 months ago.

I sent a second question but don't see it so I must have done it incorrectly. Our accountant is telling me this morning that filing jointly and requesting a payment plan for the $8,000 owed may be a problem. "I am concerned about potentially opening up the can of worms of the past liabilities if we seek a payment plan. Not saying it would happen, but it does concern me a little." If I file married and separately I will owe $11,000, I was trying to save $3,000 by filing jointly. The back liabilities owed by my spouse...lien on house, no offer and compromise completed, have not heard from the IRS in almost 2 years, husband paying taxes quarterly now and current for almost 3 years. What is your opinion?

Expert:  Lane replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

Just to get us on the same page, see this from above:



Lane:

Now, you should be aware that any refund generated from a current year (involving him) COULD be attached because of a previous tax year issue

 

Customer:

OK, so I understand you saying filing together will not make me liable for past as we did not file together in the years he owes back taxes. Moving forward and filing jointly may void any refund coming to us but rather being applied to back taxes. As long as he remains current with his taxes now we should not have any issues, correct?

 

 

 

 

That's right.

 

(1) If you did not file jointly before you are not jointly and severally liable.

 

And, as we discussed above.

 

(2) That, refunds from filing jointly going forward (and other places where you have joint ownership or liability) COULD be affected because of HIS liability from past years.

 

 

 

 

What your accountant is saying (I can only speculate) is that by asking for this payment plan - based on a joint return filed this year - when one of the two parties here (your husband) still has a liability from previous years, the plan might not go through.

 

By asking for a payment plan plan on this JOINT return you will NOT have kept things separate.

(DOESN'T MAKE YOU LIABLE for his past separately filed liabilities, but now you and he TOGETHER are asking for a payment plan on only $8,000, when HE owes more than that.)




This is the same logic that says they could attach any future refund going forward from a JOINT return.

I think you have two options:

(1) Ask for a payment plan that includes the $8,000 plus whatever is owed by him.

or

(2) File separately and ask for the payment plan based on what only you owe.

Make sense?



Lane
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Yes, I will owe $11,000 myself as he is current with any taxes he owed for 2012. Filing jointly only helps me with what I owe.

Expert:  Lane replied 10 months ago.


I understand.

But that's the rub.

Once you start commingling with your husband, financially - joint account, joint payment plan (payment plan from a joint return), refund for a joint return ... that's where you put your money at risk for his past obligations.

... just trying to help maybe "see around some corners."

They may be VERY willing to spread YOURS out more based on ability to pay, but again, when you BOTH ask for a payment plan they'll start looking at what you BOTH owe.

Lane

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Makes perfect sense. Thank you again. I'm leaning toward filing separately and paying a little more.

Expert:  Lane replied 10 months ago.

I think if it were me, that's what I'd do

Thanks for asking for me

Lane

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