When we get married and have children the last thing we are thinking about is the IRS. However, sometimes life takes us through some difficult times and sometimes that results in facing unfortunate situations such as tax debt, divorce, child custody battles and more. While we don’t have the answers for all of life’s problems we can look at some of the issues that might arise when a couple, together or separated, is facing taxes and even IRS collection.
When you are married and filing taxes jointly, you are taking credit for how those taxes are filed and will be held responsible by the IRS, even if your husband or wife was the one who filled out the forms. In many couples one of the two takes on the task of filing the taxes. If this is the case, then the individual who doesn’t take charge should at least review the return and have an understanding of what is being filed before they sign it. Not doing so may mean being taken by surprise by IRS issues or unpaid tax debt. These are problems that you might have been able to avoid if you had paid attention to what was being filed in your name.
If you do find that you are being held responsible for your current or past partners tax problems, you may qualify for certain options of tax relief. Three options that exist for such situations are:
● Innocent Spouse Relief – If your spouse or former spouse failed to report income or reported income, deductions or credits improperly this option can provide relief from additional tax you owe.
● Separation of Liability Relief – This option will look at the additional tax owed between you and your current or former spouse and allocate the amount for which you are responsible. Meaning that you may only be held responsible for a portion of the tax debt.
● Equitable Relief – If you do not qualify for the above options, equitable relief may be an option for you. If something was not reported properly on a joint return and is generally attributable to your spouse, or if the tax was reported but remains unpaid, then this option may work to give your relief from that debt.
It is important that you chose the correct option for your tax relief strategy, and file for it correctly. For this reason, make sure that you are fully informed and speak with a tax attorney before you proceed.
The final thing I would like to talk about is how claiming children as dependents should work on your tax returns. If you are together with your spouse and filing a joint return, this is an obvious piece of your joint tax file. Simply add your children on as dependent on the joint return.
However, if filing separately, whether you are divorced or not, you should understand who can and who can not claim the children as dependents on their returns.
Generally, the custodial parent has the right to claim the child as a dependent. This is the parent with whom the child lives for more than half the year. If the child is with both parents for more than half the year then the custodial parent is determined using a certain amount of tie-breaker criteria. However, the custodial parent can waive his or her right to claim a dependent in favor of the non-custodial parent by using Form 8332.
Marriage, divorce, and taxes can all bring up some difficult and possibly confusing questions. Most of the time it is good to avoid having two taxpayers claim the same dependent, which may trigger an IRS audit of both returns. However, child tax benefits can be split between two parents if they meet certain criteria. Make sure that if you have a complicated tax situation you get good advice and understand that you are doing things correctly. If you are facing tax problems that were caused by incorrect filing by you or your spouse then speak with a tax attorney immediately. https://chicagotaxteam.com/irs-tax-resolution-blog/legal-questions-answered/