In some couples, one partner handles the majority of the proverbial heavy lifting when it comes to financial matters, in particular if he or she is the primary breadwinner or is in a more advantageous economic position. The other might have limited information about the family's overall financial situation as far as net worth, taxes and income go, and just signed tax returns prepared by their spouse or a third party when asked.
Anyone who has been through the divorce process knows that it is more of a marathon than a sprint. If you think you crossed the finish line with a final divorce decree in 2015, you still have one more decision. How will you file your taxes?
No one knows exactly what Google's famous algorithm is. Nor does anyone outside the IRS know exactly what triggers a tax audit. But based on experience, it is possible to make certain educated assumptions about what the warning flags for IRS audits are.
Marriage should not be a blank check to engage in bad behavior. In the context of taxpayers who are married filing jointly, that means
Most married couples in Orange County file a joint tax return. Although both spouses filing a joint return are legally responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their return, the most common practice is for one spouse to take primary control for filing the return. The less-involved spouse may look over the return before signing it, but frequently spouses will sign returns prepared by their partners without much thought.
Most Orange County married couples file joint tax returns. Many married couples also have one partner who is primarily responsible for filing the joint return. This trust can be dangerous because a spouse can be held liable for the tax fraud committed by their partner.
It is common for married couples to file a joint tax return. Most couples save money by filing together. One big disadvantage, though, is that if you file jointly, you are liable for any mistakes or intentional misstatements made by your spouse.
More and more inquiries are made to Orange County tax attorneys all the time about innocent spouse relief. Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of the benefits of filing jointly. However, both spouses have "joint and several" liability for the taxes and for any interest or penalties on the tax, even if they do not stay married. This means that each spouse is legally responsible for the entire liability. Even if a divorce decree spells out which former spouse will pay any money due on past tax returns, strictly speaking the IRS is not bound by the decree.