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Can your ex-husband's tax problems become yours?

Today is that dreaded tax day! People are gathering all of their tax papers, completing tax forms and sending them off to the Internal Revenue Service. Unfortunately, for some women, an ex-husband's trouble with the IRS over tax returns can also include you.

If you and your ex-husband filed jointly and there are problems with the filing, then you could have potential tax troubles, too. The IRS doesn't care if you and your ex put in your divorce decree that he is responsible for fixing tax issues. If your name is on the tax return, you're responsible, too.

If you think that your ex is manipulating the numbers on the joint tax return or flat out lying, then it's time for you to file separately. While this might increase your tax burden, it will be worth it to be out of the limelight for filing a fraudulent tax return.

The IRS does recognize that some people are "innocent spouses." These are people who simply sign a tax return someone else prepared and were not aware that anything was wrong. However, it's not always easy to obtain innocent spouse status and it does take some time. A forensic accountant may even be needed in order to prove an injured spouse's claim.

As you can see, trusting your ex to do everything correctly on your taxes may not be the best idea. If you think you may be in trouble because of the return, it may be best to seek out legal advice on the matter. Being proactive is important and so is not leaving anything up to the IRS.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Don't Fall Victim To Your Husband's Tax Shenanigans," Jeff Landers, April. 01, 2015

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