Tax Tales: Married Couples Filing Separate Taxes

In today’s age of technology we enjoy access to information at the push of a button. The latest advances in technology not only benefit us greatly, but also the government. After 9/11, the Patriot Act gave the government more access to financial institutions both domestic and foreign. Personal and business financial information is now readily, easily and legally available. The IRS and State have a more thorough and immediate information sharing policy. Foreign government agencies are also in on this cooperative effort.

Daily we are reminded of the economic shortfalls of this country and that the government wants and needs money.  What better place to search for it than with the IRS and State. The aggressiveness of the IRS and State is unparalleled and the penalty for making a mistake is not just a fine but can be criminal prosecution on felony charges and long imprisonment.

Our law office is seeing more cases than ever of spouses being held accountable for their partners’ actions. Why so? Some married couples at tax time choose the option of filing separately. There are many valid reasons to file this way and if done correctly the IRS and State are satisfied.  One problem is when one partner files and the other does not, but should.  In fact it can be financially and emotionally devastating for the unknowing spouse.

With today’s far-reaching technology the IRS and State can find those that have not filed taxes and criminal charges can be filed against the non-filer and their filing spouse can be investigated. Filing separately may not protect the personal property or finances of the filing spouse.  The government may take anything and everything to offset the tax liability.  That means the filing spouse may be responsible for the spouse who did not file.

What can you do now if the government has not come knocking on your door and you know your spouse has not filed?  Understand the benefits of the voluntary disclosure program. With the assistance of our law firm, you may be able to avoid criminal prosecution and the most serious monetary penalties.

In conclusion: married couples – be fully aware of the responsibility to each other to file and pay on time and correctly. If you have not filed your tax return see us immediately.

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