If I have a balance owed with the IRS that should be my ex’s debt, what canI do?

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If I have a balance owed with the IRS that should be my ex’s debt, what canI do?

I got divorced and when I got the settlement they took out for my half ($7500) for the back taxes that were owed (total $15000). Last year I did my taxes but came to find out that he had not taken care of the back taxes like he should have 4 years ago. What should I do? Can the IRS take my refund even though I have divorce papers saying he is responsible for that debt?

Asked on January 10, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First if all, the IRS was not a party to your divorce and is not bound by the terms of your divorce degree.  Further, you are jointly and severally liable for the marital debt, meaning that they can indeed come after you for the other half of the debt and they can indeed take your tax return this year.  What you can do is sue to enforce the agreement or wait until they take your return and sue him for the money.  You may want to take the pro-active position and strike before the money is taken.  Bring the proof that you say that you came across indicating that the debt was not paid.  And ask for costs and disbursements to enforce the agreement as well.  Good luck.


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