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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 15711
Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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I just found out that my husband owes the IRS past taxes

Customer Question

I just found out that my husband owes the IRS past taxes from before we were married. If I divorce him am I responsible for that debt?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Robin D. replied 1 year ago.


The rules for collecting past due federal tax debts are complex if you live in a community property state. Some states do not distinguish between pre- and post-marital obligations and allow creditors to collect an obligation from 100% of community property.

Therefore, in these states the Service may also collect taxes from 100% of community property for all premarital debts of a spouse.

These states include California, Idaho and Louisiana.

A decree of divorce, legal separation or physical separation will terminate ("dissolve" ) the community property regime. Dissolution impacts tax collection. For example, wages of the nonliable spouse earned after the dissolution are no longer community property. Most states provide, however, that items of former community property remain available to satisfy community debts as they would have before the dissolution to the extent of their value at the date of dissolution.

After dissolution of your marriage, his past debts would be on him for collection as long as the debts were pre marriage debts.