taxes and a divorce decree


C

chaz

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<< and does NOT constitute legal OR professional advice. >>
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My girlfriend has an issue with her ex spouse. The divorce
decree also outlined how taxes were to be paid. They were to
be filed jointly and the husband responsible for his taxes
(he pays quarterly or was supposed to). She paid her "part",
altho I fully understand the IRS isnt going to peel these
apart as if they were separate returns.

To make a long story short, he hasnt paid the taxes due the
federal government and they (IRS) are sending this to
collections based on phone calls made to the IRS.

The question is.........He is supposed to pay the taxes
clearly in the decree of divorce. If he doesnt, the IRS isnt
going to give a rats behind about a decree, only the taxes
owed. What are her options?

chaz

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S

Stuart A. Bronstein

chaz said:
My girlfriend has an issue with her ex spouse. The divorce
decree also outlined how taxes were to be paid. They were to
be filed jointly and the husband responsible for his taxes
(he pays quarterly or was supposed to). She paid her "part",
altho I fully understand the IRS isnt going to peel these
apart as if they were separate returns.

The question is.........He is supposed to pay the taxes
clearly in the decree of divorce. If he doesnt, the IRS isnt
going to give a rats behind about a decree, only the taxes
owed. What are her options?
If they owned a house while married, hope her divorce lawyer
got some security in their equity to insure his payment. If
they had a house but she didn't get security, talk to
somebody about suing the lawyer.

Stu
 
Last edited by a moderator:
R

R

chaz said:
My girlfriend has an issue with her ex spouse. The divorce
decree also outlined how taxes were to be paid. They were to
be filed jointly and the husband responsible for his taxes
(he pays quarterly or was supposed to). She paid her "part",
altho I fully understand the IRS isnt going to peel these
apart as if they were separate returns.

To make a long story short, he hasnt paid the taxes due the
federal government and they (IRS) are sending this to
collections based on phone calls made to the IRS.

The question is.........He is supposed to pay the taxes
clearly in the decree of divorce. If he doesnt, the IRS isnt
going to give a rats behind about a decree, only the taxes
owed. What are her options?

chaz
Chaz,

You're right about the IRS' view. I'm currently dealing with a
similar situation. So far, this is what I've discovered... First, by
filing jointly, both spouses are responsible for the total tax
liability regardless of who incurred the liability. That is what a
"joint" return is all about. The Innocent Spouse Relief won't be
available to your lady friend because she knew what was going on,
albeit, had taken the ex at his word that he would pay his estimated
taxes.

Second, it doesn't matter much to the IRS what a divorce decree
states. Federal law does not subjugate itself to State law unless
specifically addressed. The bottom line is that a divorce decree will
not change Federal tax law... i.e. - the legal impact of filing a
joint return.

What are her options? Tylenol or Excedrin. If she (with your help)
is trying to tackle this on her own, I would contact a Taxpayer
Advocate. They are IRS employees who are (supposed to be) able to get
through the IRS stonewall to reach a logical conclusion. Ooops! Did
I just use "IRS" and "logical" in the same sentence? My faux pax.

Let me know how this works out.

Good luck,
Russell Tuncap, CMA, CPA
www.tuncap.com
 
Last edited by a moderator:
C

chaz

You're right about the IRS' view. I'm currently dealing with a
similar situation. So far, this is what I've discovered... First, by
filing jointly, both spouses are responsible for the total tax
liability regardless of who incurred the liability. That is what a
"joint" return is all about. The Innocent Spouse Relief won't be
available to your lady friend because she knew what was going on,
albeit, had taken the ex at his word that he would pay his estimated
taxes.

Second, it doesn't matter much to the IRS what a divorce decree
states. Federal law does not subjugate itself to State law unless
specifically addressed. The bottom line is that a divorce decree will
not change Federal tax law... i.e. - the legal impact of filing a
joint return.

What are her options? Tylenol or Excedrin. If she (with your help)
is trying to tackle this on her own, I would contact a Taxpayer
Advocate. They are IRS employees who are (supposed to be) able to get
through the IRS stonewall to reach a logical conclusion. Ooops! Did
I just use "IRS" and "logical" in the same sentence? My faux pax.

Let me know how this works out.
Do we contact a TA via the IRS? Is there a cost to her in
this regard?

I do appreciate the insight!

chaz
 
H

Harlan Lunsford

Do we contact a TA via the IRS? Is there a cost to her in
this regard?

I do appreciate the insight!
Well chaz, I hate to have to tell you this. R's thoughts
were right on target UNTIl that next to last paragraph
(which were a faux pas, rather than a "faux pax"). His
suggestions as to Tylenol (tm) or Excedrin (tm) were more
to the point than the idea of contact with Taxpayer Advocate
(TA). The law is clear, and the facts are all on the IRS's
side, i.e. "THEIRS" holds all the aces. It is not a job for
Super...... .. uh.. Super TA!

ChEAr$,
Harlan Lunsford, EA n LA
 
F

finniganps

She presumably signed her joint return. The return
indicated whether or not a liability was due - obviously
there was since her ex didn't pay in enough in estimated
payments. When she saw the liability, why did she sign the
return if her spouse didn't have a check made out to the
IRS? I mean, until she signed the return, she still could
have filed a return married filing separate and not be in
this mess(I know there was a court agreement, but she could
have told her lawyer she didn't trust her ex because he
didn't have a check to the IRS. The lawyer then could have
gotten the order modified).

Call the IRS and ask for the taxpayer advocate, they'll give
you the number, but I think she stuck herself when she
signed the return.....obviously she can pay the IRS and sue
the ex for it, but I kow that's not the answer you're
looking for.
 
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V

Victor Roberts

chaz said:
My girlfriend has an issue with her ex spouse. The divorce
decree also outlined how taxes were to be paid. They were to
be filed jointly and the husband responsible for his taxes
(he pays quarterly or was supposed to). She paid her "part",
altho I fully understand the IRS isnt going to peel these
apart as if they were separate returns.
From the discussion so far it seems that the divorce decree
was in conflict with Federal tax law from the start. You
folks have said that the IRS does not make a distinction
between who owes what part of the taxes due on a joint
return. As far as tax law goes, it sounds like each party is
responsible for the full amount if the other party does not
pay. If that is correct, and I have no doubt it is, how can
the divorce court force someone to sign a joint return while
stating that each party is responsible only for "their"
portion? There is no "their" portion.

--
Vic Roberts
Replace xxx with vdr in e-mail address.

Moderator:
The divorce court approved the property settlement
prepared by the attornies of the then husband and wife.
The girlfriend has to pay her ex's taxes and then go
back to the divorce court for reimbursement from her
ex-.
 
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M

MTW

Victor said:
If that is correct, and I have no doubt it is, how can
the divorce court force someone to sign a joint return while
stating that each party is responsible only for "their"
portion? There is no "their" portion.
In my opinion, a state court can't FORCE someone to sign a
federal tax return or to select a particular filing status.
However, a state court CAN "punish" you for failing to
follow its directives.

So, if the Ex doesn't pay "his share" of the taxes, and she
gets stuck for it, she can always go back into state court
seeking damages. Naturally, that begs the question as to how
the state court would determine "his share," since the IRC
is pretty silent on this point when a joint return is
involved.

Would the divorce court require expert testimony from a
couple of CPAs to settle this issue? Or, would the court
simply impose a "common sense" solution of its own design?
Who knows. But, I'm confident that the court COULD come up
with ~some~ kind of a result and enforce it.

MTW
 
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