The attorneys at Moskowitz LLP, A Tax Law Form have successfully represented numerous clients who have been assessed enormous income tax, penalties, and interest as a result of the actions or inactions of their spouses.
The vast majority of married couples file joint individual tax returns. Accordingly, couples who file joint income tax returns have "joint and severable" liability for each spouses’ income tax liabilities. This means that 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, including collecting taxes, penalties and interest from either spouse for unreported income of either spouse. The liability is not apportioned based on who earned it. Rather, the Internal Revenue Service and/or applicable taxing agency can collect the liability for the full amount reported on the tax return from either spouse, whether they are currently married to each other or not, and the government may also collect from a subsequent spouse.
However, if a spouse can show that when they signed the joint tax return, he or she did not know, or have reason to know, of unreported income and/or erroneous items stated on the return, the Internal Revenue Service and/or applicable state taxing agency may grant that spouse relief from paying the tax, penalties and interest. The Internal Revenue Service and/or applicable state taxing agency may also grant a spouse relief from paying tax when it would be inequitable to hold him or her responsible for the deficiency.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Moskowitz, LLP have significant experience negotiating claims for "innocent spouse" relief with the Internal Revenue Service and numerous state taxing agencies. Let us analyze your situation to determine if you may qualify for innocent spouse relief.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Moskowitz, LLP also have experience assisting many clients in preventing their future spouses from being subjected to “enforced collection” actions by the Internal Revenue Service and/or state tax agencies for the taxes incurred by the former spouse. Marital laws in many states, such as California, provide that income and property from an individual whose spouse has delinquent tax liabilities can be seized to pay their tax debts once they are married. This is true even if the tax liabilities were incurred long before this marriage.
However, our attorneys may be able to protect current, former, and future spouses from liability which has been caused by another. In many cases, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Moskowitz, LLP have helped clients who are happily married stay that way by protecting one spouse from the mistakes of the other. There may be many programs and techniques that can protect current, former, and future spouses from liability which was caused by another.
An example of just such a matter in which the attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Moskowitz, LLP have handled is described below.
The state of Washington assessed a business owner approximately $180,000 of state sales tax liability. Since the business owner failed to satisfy the assessed sales tax liability, the state of Washington proceeded to collect the outstanding sales tax liability from his former spouse by issuing a state tax warrant against her.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Moskowitz, LLP timely requested an administrative hearing with the state of Washington Department of Revenue. Through extensive negotiations, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Moskowitz, LLP convinced the state of Washington Department of Revenue to remove the tax warrant issued against the client. This resulted in the savings of the entire approximately $180,000 of state tax liability.
* The results portrayed in the case mentioned above were dependent of that particular case, and the result will differ if based on different facts