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Tax Liabitlty Virginia

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  • Tax Liabitlty Virginia

    My wife and I were separated from 2003 to 2008 and began filing separate returns at that time. Once reconciled, we continued to file separate returns thru last year. There are a couple years (since we've reconciled) that she didn't file a return because I itemized and she didn't think she was due much of a return, if any. Question: If we start filing joint returns again, will I be held liable for any taxes due, interest and fines for the years she didn't file?

  • #2
    If you are legally married, yes. You might qualify as an "innocent spouse". http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc205.html
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Reindeeriv View Post
      Question: If we start filing joint returns again, will I be held liable for any taxes due, interest and fines for the years she didn't file?
      No. If you and your spouse filed separately in those years, you each are responsible only for the tax due on your own return. The fact that you start filing a joint return now does NOT make you liable for the years you filed separate returns.

      The IRS page that ElleMD points you to says, in the very first paragraph: "Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of certain benefits this filing status allows. In filing jointly, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax and any additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise as a result of the joint return even if they later divorce." Only the income for the period covered by the joint return is considered to "arise as a result of the joint return."
      David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
      Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

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      • #4
        Thanks so much for your replies. Looks like she didn't file returns for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. She's been able to locate her W2's for 2008 & 2009...she's still looking for 2010 & 2011. She has IRS Wage & Income transcripts for 2008 thru 2011. She filed her 2012 & 2013 returns on time. Can I go back and amend my 2010, 2011 and 2012 returns to married filing jointly with her in order to avoid her owing taxes for those years? If so, will she be able to avoid a failure to file penalty?

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        • #5
          Nothing is going to get you out of trouble for not filing on time and not including her income. I highly suggest talking to a CPA who specializes in late returns to learn your best options at this point.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            FYI today is the last day you can file an amended return for 2010.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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            • #7
              Elle, I did file on time, she's the one that didn't file. I was just wondering if I amend my return and include her on a joint return, her taxes owed would be $0.00 and I was asking if that would negate penalties because there were no taxes owed for that year.

              Thanks cbg, I'll have to let that deadline pass because I guess it's best to deal with this matter by starting with 2008 and proceeding to file past due returns in chronological order.

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              • #8
                Tax Liabitlty Virginia

                Hi Hayley, nice to hear from you Im afraid that would be a question for a tax expert. They would need to look at all your circumstances to answer it though.

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                • #9
                  Failure to file penalties result whether tax was owed or not. Unless you have very, very limited income there is a requirement to file.

                  I highly recommend you seek the advice of a CPA. You definitely need to get right with the IRS, but they may be able to minimize the pain.

                  Don't forget that if she didn't file federal, I assume she didn't file state either, and you need to fix that as well.

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