Sunday, March 19, 2006

Signing a Joint Tax Return May Put You In "The Joint"

On March 15, 2005, the Wall Street Journal published an article about how difficult it is for spouses and former spouses to get Innocent Spouse Relief from the IRS.

The IRS can collect the entire amount owed in taxes from either spouse when they have both signed a joint tax return. You can file an "innocent spouse" affidavit and make the defense that you did not know and had no reason to know that any under reporting of income or other wrongdoing associated with the filing of the tax return, and therefore you should not be responsible for paying any additional taxes, penalties or interest due.

However, the article reports that of the nearly 50,000 innocent spouse claims received by the IRS in 2005, only 21% were allowed in full and another 8% were partially allowed.

Therefore, before you sign a tax return that you have any doubt about, you should not sign it. This is especially true if you are thinking about a divorce or are in the process of divorce.


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