Chicago, IL asked in Tax Law for Illinois

Q: Should I claim innocent spouse?

My husband and I were married in May 2019. When filing for our 2019 taxes I learned that my spouse has claimed “exempt“ on his payroll tax for the entire 2019. The result is over $13,000 in tax liability, when otherwise I would have been due a refund for my portion of overpayment of about $3500 if filing jointly.

If I file married/separately I would lose my tax credits and end up paying about $200 in state and federal taxes.

Would I qualify as an innocent spouse for 2019 since I was unaware that my spouse wasn’t paying payroll tax?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Andrew M Steiger
Andrew M Steiger
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • St. Clair Shores, MI

A: Based on the limited facts, it sounds like you would not qualify. You are not required to file a joint return, so carefully think your situation through before you file your 2019 return and seek professional advice if you want to reduce or eliminate the risk of being stuck with your spouse’s share of a joint tax liability.

Bruce Alexander Minnick agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

A: Mr. Steiger gave you the correct advice; but since he did not explain why your cannot use the "innocent spouse" excuse I will: You cannot claim to be an "innocent spouse" in this situation because neither you nor your new husband has done anything stupid--yet.

Tell your new husband that his best--and perhaps only--move is to find some way to pay the IRS all the taxes and penalties it takes for the two of you--filing jointly--to receive a refund in the amount that you expected to enjoy before marrying him. If he says no, then file separately and look out for yourself--like he should do.

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.