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Worried about an ex-spouse's tax problems following you?

Getting out of a troubled marriage is arguably the top priority for divorcees. Indeed, they want their fair share when it comes to dividing property and setting a parenting time schedule, but many divorcees may not think about the tax implications that an unscrupulous spouse can leave behind; only to be discovered years later when tax fraud accusations are levied.

If you had little, if anything, to do with preparing a fraudulent or misleading tax return, you may still be held accountable by simply signing the return. This may be possible even though you were not complicit with or took part in the alleged fraud. Fortunately, there are two important ways to find relief.

This post will highlight them.

Innocent spouse defense – There are many situations where a spouse may have signed a tax return under duress. The innocent spouse defense is designed to protect spouses who were in abusive relationships, and were asked (or forced) to sign tax forms without knowing what was in them.  Abused spouses commonly don’t have the ability to question their tax returns. As such, this defense would help those who unwittingly signed fraudulent returns.

Equitable relief – In the same vein, a spouse may have reasonably believed that the information provided on their tax return was truthful and accurate.  They may have had little, if any, input in completing the return and had no reason to believe that the information included in the return was fraudulent. Because of this, a spouse in this situation could ask the court for equitable relief.

If you have questions about tax issues before or after a divorce, an experienced family law attorney with tax experience can help.


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