As Ben Franklin reminded us “in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes”. As a Maryland Lawyer representing clients in their financial affairs arising from separation and divorce, tax issues must be kept in mind.
My blog has previously alerted parties contemplating separation and divorce about the perils of filing joint tax returns. The IRS treats couples who file jointly as jointly liable for any deficiencies due on federal taxes, unless a spouse is deemed to be an “innocent spouse.” In other words, the IRS can come after a spouse for the deficiency created by the other spouse.
“ In situations in which each spouse pays some of the tax liability, each spouse is entitled to a portion of the refund.
However, the rule differs for over payments on joint tax returns.
An overpayment on a joint tax return by one spouse belongs to that spouse. The IRS’s reasoning is that filing a joint tax return does not create a new property interest in the spouse who did not make the overpayment.
In situations in which each spouse pays some of the tax liability, each spouse is entitled to a portion of the refund. The IRS has developed formula that considers what each spouse’s tax liability would be individually and the actual contribution of each toward the joint tax liability.
For anyone who wants to educate themselves about tax matters relating to separation and divorce should start with IRS Publication 504, Tax Information for Divorced and Separated Individuals.