Pre-Marital Tax Debt

Today TaxMama hears from Helen in AZ who has this question, “I have a 1992 IRS tax debt of $30,000. I got married in 1999. Is my husband responsible for this debt? We have never filed joint returns.”

Hi Helen

As long as you don’t file jointly, IRS won’t hold him responsible. Sort of.

Be careful of any assets you own together – like a home, or joint bank accounts, or other property.

If IRS attaches those assets to get at your share of value, he’ll have to file an injured spouse claim to protect his share of the same asset.

One other thing you should know – Arizona is a community property state. So the longer you live together, the more you own of his assets – and vice versa.
http://taxes.about.com/od/taxglossary/g/CommunityProper.htm

There’s an interesting analysis of California’s community property laws, by tax attorney, Robert L. Sommers, the Tax Prophet
http://www.taxprophet.com/newsletters/0504nl.html

While Arizona may not have the same laws…it’s well worth your time to check with a good, local tax attorney, to see how your state’s community property laws affect your tax debt.

Of course, since the tax debt is from 1992, depending on when you filed that tax return…you may no longer be responsible for paying that debt. The good news is – it may have expired.

For more information on that…do a search of the TaxMama.com site
http://www.taxmama.com/search.html for ‘statute of limitations’. Read some of the articles and explanations – THEN, call IRS to find out when that debt does expire – or if it already has?

And remember, you’ll find answers to questions about separate tax debts and all kinds of tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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