Really Innocent Spouse

Today TaxMama hears from Fred in the TaxQuips Forum, with this problem. “My ex-wife and I were legally divorced in Sept. 2008.  For the tax year 2008, she filed as married, filing jointly.  She withdrew her entire 401(k) fund and was penalized for early withdrawal.  She now owes the IRS over $10,000. Because she filed as married, they are coming after me for the tax burden. What can I do?”

Dear Fred,

The first question is – Did YOU file a tax return for 2008? You don’t mention providing any copies of that. That may be your problem.

1) However, if you filed as single, then IRS has no business coming after you.

2) If you did not sign her joint tax return, then her tax return is fraudulent, and it’s a forgery. (That’s a criminal offense.) Ask IRS for a copy of the return – and insist on having them show you where you signed it.

To answer your question about hiring an attorney – Nope. You don’t need to hire and pay anyone for this. Call the Taxpayers Advocate Service. They can help you straighten this out – for free! This is exactly the kind of run-around, they were created to fix.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about forgery, IRS obtuseness, and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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