Can theIRS put a lien on my home if my soon-to-be husband owes federal taxes?

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Can theIRS put a lien on my home if my soon-to-be husband owes federal taxes?

I own my own home and I plan on getting married soon. However, my boyfriend owes taxes. Can IRS put a lien on my home if we get married?

Asked on March 24, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If it was a pre-marital debt, then you as his spouse are not liable for it.  However, to the extent that you have joint non-exempt assets, those assets can have a lien placed on them or be seized outright.  So keep you financial affairs separate (including title to your house) until your husband is able to clear all of this up.

Note:   As a general rule, if you do not have any “equity” in your property (real or personal) the IRS will not levy it.  Internal Revenue Manual 5.10.1.2 states that seizures are prohibited,  “where the taxpayer has insufficient equity in the property.”  Internal Revenue Code 6331(f) prevents the IRS from making an “uneconomical levy”; this means that there must be an economic recovery to the IRS to do it.

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Property that is your prior to marriage remains yours after marriage as long as thre is not an intent to co-mingle it.  For example, a savings account that you add your husband's name to, placing his name on the deed to your property, etc.  Some states allow the increased value of property that becomes the marital home to be considered marital property if there was an active participation by the non owner to help increase its value.  Like if he sided the house or used his income to pay the bills and side the house.  If the property is in your name alone then the IRS will not be able to attach a line.  Be aware , though, that your tax return may not be as lucky if you file jointly.  I would speak with an attorney before you get married about a pre-nup and protecting your assets.  Good luck to you.


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