Today TaxMama hears from Sandra in the Tax Quips Forum with a quick question. “My soon-to-be spouse has a mountain of back tax debt. Can this affect me in any way or my property? I live in Missouri. He also has terrible credit.”
You bet it can! Keep your finances totally separated. Keep separate bank accounts.
If you decide to file joint tax returns with him, make sure you don’t have enough in payroll tax withholding to get a refund, or you will have to fight for it every single year.
If you own anything – or plan to – get a prenuptial agreement signed AND a post-nuptial agreement. Why both? Because before marriage, he doesn’t really have any right to your assets, so he cannot away a right he doesn’t have. After the wedding, he does have rights – and that post-nuptial agreement will have some teeth.
Never sign any loan documents together, or your credit will tied up with his. And if you sign a loan document on his behalf, be prepared to make all the payments, just in case he defaults. Do not play the stubborn game – where it’s HIS debt, so HE pays it. It will be YOUR credit destroyed.
Also, try to help him sort out his tax problems by getting caught up and perhaps doing an offer in compromise with IRS and your state. Hiring a tax professional will be expensive. But you could try to help him yourself (with his help) if you are brave. My Tax Practice Bundle of courses at CPE Link will walk you through what you need to do – and give you the tools to do it. For less than the cost of one hour with a tax professional.
It may take a few years to clean up – and it will be stressful. But you two can get through all this with love and good humor, you’ll have it made!
Personally, though, if this were me? I would wait to get married until it was all fixed. I would live together and help him out – then, once it was all resolved, would set the wedding day. But that’s just me. Everyone is different.
And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about marriage, tax debt, and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At www.TaxMama.com.[Note: If you were subscribed to the e-mailed TaxQuips, you’d be getting other exciting news and tips by e-mail, that never appear on the site. Please click on the join TaxMama.com link – it’s free!]
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