I received the following e-mail from a lucky bride-to-be who had a question about her future husband's IRS tax debt.
I am engaged to a man that is deeply in debt to the IRS. Currently, he has no property in his name that the government can take. If I marry him and change my name to his, can the IRS seize my property and income to satisfy his debt?
When you marry someone and you're saying your wedding vows, there's that one little line about "for better or worse." Well if you marry someone with an existing IRS tax debt, that's what "or worse" means.
Marrying someone who already has an IRS tax debt also means that you're marrying their tax debt too. You are just as responsible for paying back that debt as your new spouse.
The woman who sent me the e-mail asked if the IRS can seize her income or property, and the answer would be yes! But the IRS-Hitman wants to help these love birds, so let me tell you some tips that may help them.
This man of hers needs to get his debt settled or under control before they're married.
There is a solution called Innocent Spouse, but it doesn't normally apply to newlyweds, especially when the spouse-to-be already knows about the debt. But I'm going to list the requirements for Innocent Spouse because I know some of you out there may be able to use it to solve your IRS debt brought on by a loving spouse.
- The taxes owed have to be theirs. That means if you filed jointly, you owe it. The consolation is that they do, too.
- You can prove you were unaware of the debt, thought your spouse was going to pay, or were unaware of items changed in an audit.
- The debt would cause you hardship. This means you couldn't afford to pay basic living expenses like food and utilities.
- You suffered abuse in the relationship.
Luckily, this woman knew about the debt and was able to get information that can help her deal with the situation she's in. However, there are millions of marriages where a spouse finds out only too late that they now have a debt due.
Now she has the smoking gun... and so do you.
Labels: Innocent Spouse, Marriage and Taxes