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Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37392
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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My husband passed away after a long illness this past July.

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My husband passed away after a long illness this past July. We were separated at the time but, legally married. I had been filing my taxes as head of household. I found out he had not filed his taxes for 5 years.

According to my tax preparer he owes over $40,000 dollars in taxes. I want to straighten this out because I'm afraid the IRS will come after me. We owned a home jointly although, I have since transferred it to my name. I also, am entitled to his social security when I'm 62. I'm afraid the IRS will try to put a lien on my house or take from my social security in the future. We live in California

Can you please give me your input on this situation.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
How were you filing your taxes during the time you were separated? Married filing separately? Single? Married?
Did all his non-filing happen after you were separated?
How long had you been separated?
Has the IRS filed any liens that you are aware of?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, Thanks for your quick response. Yes, all the non-filing happened after we were separated. I filed married filing separately. We were separated 6 years and living separately as well. I believe the IRS has taken some money from his paychecks. They have not filed any liens on the property we owned together or anything else as far a I know.

Ok, in a situation like this, if you were filing married filing separately, then you wouldn't normally be held liable for his individual taxes as that is one of the reasons for "married filing separately" status. Even if the IRS tried to come after you on the basis of CA being a community property state for both assets and debts, you can file for "innocent spouse relief", which is a protection the IRS gives spouses who are unaware that the other spouse is doing something improper or fraudulent with regard to their taxes. It essentially relieves the "innocent spouse" from any liability for the guilty spouse's tax deficiencies.
So although I doubt they would try to come after you intially, you should be able to claim "innocent spouse" protection to avoid any liability.
This is a link to some information on the topic from the IRS:

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