Orinda, CA asked in Criminal Law, Tax Law and Family Law for California

Q: if I marry will my wife pick up any responsibility for my IRS debt?

Fifteen years ago I was convicted of tax evasion. I owe the IRS a very large sum of money. Because my only source of income is my social security check the IRS is not enforcing collection.

My question is: if I marry will my wife pick up any responsibility for that IRS debt? If so is there a way to protect her from that debt?

1 Lawyer Answer
Selina Steele
Selina Steele
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Temecula, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Depending on the nature of the tax liability and when assessed, it is possible the ten year

statute of limitation has run on collection rights. You would need to have the timing reviewed

to confirm if the right to collect has expired.

If the statute is still open, the only certain way in a community property state is to file as

"married filing separate". A pre-nup clearly addressing the debt would also be required.

However, there are other considerations to be aware of...such as whether the addition of

her income into the household changes your apparent "currently non-collectible" status.

Speaking with your tax advisor is highly advisable (enrolled agent or CPA).

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