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I’ll wager that when most brides and grooms utter the phrase, “For better or for worse,” the “worse” they’re imagining probably involves situations like getting laid off or a prolonged family illness – not being the victim of tax fraud perpetrated by a current or former spouse.
Married couples typically file joint tax returns because it lets them take advantage of certain tax credits and other benefits not available if they file separately. However, one potential drawback is that you’re each responsible, jointly and individually, for any taxes, interest and penalties due on returns filed while you’re married, even if you later divorce.
So what happens if your spouse or ex-spouse – either unintentionally or deliberately – underreported income, overstated deductions, didn’t report taxable IRA distributions or any of a host of other sins in the eyes of the IRS? Well, you could be left holding the bag, even if those things occurred without your knowledge or understanding.
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