Marital infidelity is often cited as a prime catalyst driving divorce filings. And, indeed, straying on one’s partner is often a marriage breaker.
Understandably, most people tend to think of infidelity — cheating — in terms of their partner having a clandestine relationship with another person.
As is made manifestly clear in a recent media article on divorce and taxation, though, infidelity can encompass more than a partner’s physical tryst with a third party.
Cheating can occur, in fact, when a spouse shuts a door on his or her partner and surreptitiously interacts with … a tax form.
Did you know that, following divorce, you can be targeted by the Internal Revenue Service for tax debt incurred during your marriage, even if it resulted from the fraudulent acts of your ex-spouse that you knew nothing about?
A party affixing his or her signature alongside that of a spouse to a joint tax return is an instant target down the road for IRS investigators who allege tax fraud and seek a legal recovery. Moreover, that potential liability extends even to persons who file separate returns during marriage, provided they live in community property states, like Texas.
Such a potentially adverse consequence down the road certainly underscores the need for every married person to know what’s going on with tax filings during marriage.
IRS penalties for past debt can severe. An innocent ex-spouse might find that his or her bank account is suddenly frozen or that wages are being garnished.
Indeed, the IRS does grant relief to an innocent spouse in certain instances, but, unsurprisingly, qualifying for such relief can be difficult.
Taxes are definitely something that many couples should have on a to-do checklist of items to consider as they proceed through divorce negotiations. An experienced divorce attorney can provide guidance and, when necessary, make professional referrals.