Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez may be in the headlines lately for their highly publicized split, but he made his own headlines last year due to tax troubles when he was hit with a $3.4 million lien on his Long Island home. In 2007 he owed $2.5 million in back taxes to federal & state for not filing tax returns on almost $15.5 million in income over five years. We’re not sure if he and J-Lo filed jointly, but if they did, she would be liable for the taxes owed as well!
Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of certain benefits this filing status allows. However, both taxpayers are jointly and individually responsible for the tax and any interest or penalty due on the joint return even if they later divorce. This is true even if a divorce decree states that a former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. One spouse may be held responsible for all the tax due even if all the income was earned by the other spouse.
In some cases, a spouse will be relieved of the tax, interest, and penalties on a joint tax return. Three types of relief are available.
1. Innocent spouse relief
2. Separation of liability
3. Equitable relief
Marriage has it’s ups and downs. Make sure and protect yourself from its pitfalls and consult with a tax attorney before your spouse leaves you with more than your fair share of tax debt. That’s one post-wedding gift no one wants.
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