Most married couples in Pennsylvania file joint tax returns. In the eyes of the law, this means they have “joint and severable” liability for each others’ income tax liabilities. Accordingly, both spouses are responsible for the total tax stated on the joint tax return regardless of who earned the income or took the tax benefits. If either spouse did not report income, then taxes, penalties and interest for unreported income will be the responsibility of both spouses. The liability is not apportioned based on who earned it. Rather, the Internal Revenue Service and/or state taxing agency can collect the liability for the full amount from either spouse, whether they are currently married to each other or not. The government may even collect from a subsequent spouse.
Often, one spouse finds out about the other spouse’s failure to fully report income after a separation or divorce. Whether still married or not, the IRS offers the spouse not responsible for unreported income the opportunity to prove that she or he is an “innocent spouse,” who did not know or have reason to know that the other spouse understated income.
Contact me to discuss your case in detail and review your individual facts. Even if you think you do not qualify, an experienced attorney may be able to convince the IRS to grant partial relief by apportioning the tax bill. I can help prevent the IRS from garnishing your wages or freezing your bank accounts.
Call 215-344-8343 or contact me by e-mail to arrange your free consultation with a Bucks County IRS defense attorney.
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