Marriage in trouble?
These things dont happen overnight and if you have filed joint
returns with your spouse, you could be in for a tax nightmare.
Dont take anything for granted.
Heres some tips to help you.
1. Never take for granted the returns actually got filed. Call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. Ask if any returns are due and if any tax assessments are unpaid. Dont assume you would have received a notice.
2. Were the returns filed the ones you signed? Were they altered? Get and keep copies of the ones you signed AND ALL SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS INCLUDING RECEIPTS AND CANCELLED CHECKS. You might need them later.
3. Did you blindly sign those returns without understanding what was in them? Big mistake if you did. DONT EVER DO IT AGAIN. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR KNOWING YOUR FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR ANYTHING YOU ARE ASKED TO SIGN!!!! Go over those returns now and see if anything is strange. Make notes on a side sheet. Do not discuss them with your divorcing spouse. Keep this in a safe place too.
4. Did the money make it to the IRS? For a recent return, give the IRS 60 days after filing and then check with them to make sure they received the check. Believe it or not, a divorcing spouse sometimes plans a getaway with those funds, and they never make it to the IRS. The money disappears leaving you holding the bag with FULL LIABILITY.
5. We always try to look toward potential problems when assisting taxpayers. You might be better off filing separately or you might qualify for head of household. If your spouse is self-employed or reports a lot of business expenses, think twice about a joint return. It might not be advisable because of the risk after your divorce. Remember, a joint return means you are both liable. Even if the return is paid at filing, an audit could result in a huge additional assessment. After a divorce, nobody can find records and cooperation is non-existent. Please do not expose yourself to this risk! Better to file your own return separately that you can support than to risk your livelihood, home, property, and peace of mind. Call me on this if you have questions. I SEE TOO MANY CASES OF MEN AND WOMEN RUNNING OFF ABANDONING RESPONSIBILITY LEAVING A SINGLE PARENT HOLDING THE BAG ON TAXES.
6. Your spouses agreement or judges decree to pay taxes due means nothing to the IRS. The IRS couldnt care less that he or she agreed to pay. The IRS chases the person easiest to find. Period. They make no effort at fairness, reasonableness, or economic reality. NEVER BELIEVE THAT YOUR DIVORCE DECREE OR SEPARATION AGREEMENT WILL PROTECT YOU FROM THE IRS.