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husband's back taxes

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What is the name of your state? California

My new husband has not paid taxes for the past seven years - either because he did not make enough money to file or because he was employed as a caretaker of a house and worked in exchange for free rent. Can the IRS come after him for back taxes for those seven years? And if so, can they hold me liable for them because we are married? Thank you.



More info is needed to determine if your husband owes taxes prior to your marriage. Let's assume he does. The IRS cannot collect directly from you. What they can and probably will do, would apply any refund on your joint return to his debt.

In that case, you should file an injured spouse form (8379) with your joint return, or you can file as married filing separately (MFS) rather than joint. However, filing MFS usually results in a higher tax liability.

The 8379 form is a request to the IRS to only apply your husband's portion of the joint refund to his debt.



The IRS can come after both of you for those taxes - filing injured spouse is only applicable if the husband grossly and negligently does not claim money he made that he should have claimed. You can lose your own refund due you if you filed jointly. It can even follow you if you should get divorced - the IRS has no statute of limitations to its collections of taxes - penalties and interest accrue everyday, forever as long as there's a balance due. But, since it's been seven years, I find it strange that they haven't found you yet. They usually start looking after three consecutive years of non-filing. Even if he didn't make enough, he should file. I would consult a tax attorney if you can find one that has a free first consultation. Try to get as much info out of him as you can at that first meeting and make your decision if you want to try it alone - the IRS isn't quite as bad as they used to be, but it's still not a pleasant trip!

Good luck


What smorr is refering to is called "innocent spouse" and is exactly right when one of the spouses grossly mistates stuff on a joint return. However this situation is the "injured spouse" because the other spouse has a previous tax debt. Smorr is also correct in that there is no guarantee that even filing the form 8379, you'll get any part of the refund.

I still think the IRS cannot come after you since the tax problem is charged to your husband's social security number.

I would also recommend you consult a tax professional, and if your husband does owe a lot ask about "Offer in Compromise".

Sometimes it helps to have the numbers in front of you so you can move forward together.

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