What to Do When Your Spouse is in Tax Trouble

Posted by Michael Raichelson | Jun 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

If your spouse has not filed a tax return recently or paid their taxes in the last several years, then you may feel unsure of where to turn for relief. It can be stressful to deal with the financial decisions your spouse makes, especially because they can directly affect you. Raichelson Law, P.C. informs you on the solutions available to you when your spouse is in tax trouble as well as how you can be proactive in managing your finances.

Take a look at tax debt relief

There are options when trying to pay off or lessen the amount of taxes you or your spouse owes. Eliminating tax debt can be done through tax resolution within the IRS Fresh Start Program, which includes tax liens, installment agreements, and offers in compromise (OIC). Depending on your situation and how much your spouse owes, you may not qualify for some of these relief options.

Look into spousal relief

You are liable for the additional taxes owed when married, but there are options to relieve you of these burdens. The IRS offers three types of spousal relief:

  1. Innocent Spouse Relief
  2. Separation of Liability Relief
  3. Equitable Relief

Innocent Spouse Relief alleviates additional taxes you owe if your spouse did not report their earned income, reported it incorrectly, or claimed incorrect deductions. Separation of Liability Relief gives you the responsibility of paying only the taxes that are allocated to you. This type of relief is for individuals who are no longer married, separated, or no longer living with their spouse. Equitable Relief is an option for those who do not qualify for the other relief options. It is available to individuals who filed joint returns that were not reported properly. If the joint return was correct when filed, but the tax was not paid, then you may also qualify for equitable relief. There are specific conditions you must meet to qualify for each of these relief options, which are listed on the IRS website.

Seek help to solve the problem

It is important to seek advice from a tax professional and do some research to determine the tax relief option that aligns with your situation. Also consider the type of help your spouse needs and how you might be able to support them without creating more financial burdens for your family. Would seeing a marriage counselor benefit your situation? Are there free programs or resources online that could guide your spouse in the right direction? Find the solution that will work well for your relationship and always ask a professional for their educated opinion.

Separate your finances

One of the wisest decisions you could make while dealing with tax trouble is to separate your finances. Your spouse's financial decisions should not impact your entire family's financial stability. In order to support yourself and your family, you must find a way to better manage your money. Take the necessary steps to ensure your taxes are properly filed each year, manage a monthly budget, and pay attention to both of your expenses.

Are you having trouble with taxes? Raichelson Law, P.C. offers over 20 years of experience in tax debt and tax controversy to help take the burden of debt off your shoulders. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how our tax attorneys can help you.

About the Author

Michael Raichelson

VENTURA & OXNARD BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY & DEBT SOLUTIONS LAWYER SERVING VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY Michael H. Raichelson has over 23 years of experience helping individuals and businesses throughout California and the United States manage their debt problems and find solutions that give them a ...


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The Law Offices of Michael H. Raichelson is located in Calabasas, California, and serves clients in and around Woodland Hills, Wilmington, Harbor City, Carson, Torrance, San Pedro, Long Beach, Compton, Ventura, Gardena, and Los Angeles County.