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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 15312
Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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My name is ***** *****, I divorced this past year. My

Customer Question

Customer: My name is ***** *****, I divorced this past year. My ex-wife and I have some tax debt due the IRS for back taxes. Is there any way for us to separate this debt so that she is responsible for her 50% and I mine versus it being joint as it is now?
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, we are located in Louisiana which is a community property state.
Expert:  Robin D. replied 1 year ago.


The IRS counts both spouses liable for the full debt if they file a joint return. There is a “Separate Liability” Relief available but that is when one caused the debt by not claiming income.

You may ask for “Equitable” Relief" when you do not qualify for the other 2 types (Innocent ans Separate which you do not appear to be able to use).

You can ask the IRS not to make you pay taxes from a joint return if you don’t fit into either of the above categories and yet you think it would be unfair if you had to pay the tax. This may be appropriate where your spouse promised to pay the tax due and didn’t; where you signed the return out of fear; or where the spouse agreed to pay the taxes in a written separation agreement or by court order.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We are in a community property state (Louisiana). As such, all property and debts are divided 50/50. With that said, I would think that the back tax debt (acquired during the marriage) would be split 50/50. In this particular case, we can't afford to pay the debt in full and are currently in an installment agreement (that I am making the payments on). I would like to have this debt split and separated 50/50, half allocated to her social security number and the other to mine.
Expert:  Robin D. replied 1 year ago.

When you filed joint that made you both liable and the IRS does not care who they get the amount from unless the request is made.

They just look at as a debt and whoever they can get the amount from they will. Filing to request it be split is your option.

To request equitable relief, you must file Form 8857. That splits your income.

These states (California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada and New Mexico) the IRS can collect a post-marital tax liability of either spouse from 100% of community property.