I'm still married and filing bankrupcy chapter 7 to clear my credit b4 my divorce my soon to be x had a lot of IRS debt and we filed joint tax returns they r all 3 years or older I was told could be discharged in the bankrupcy but im filing the bankrucpy alone and then I will be filing a uncontested divorce my concern is that even tho I am filing bankrupcy and clearing my name that some how my ex's tax debt will come back on me I am going to put in the divorce paper that each party is responsible for their own debt can the IRS debt come back on me? I am consulting with my bankrupcy attonery and he says I should be ok but I just want to make sure
2 Answers from Attorneys
No one here can guess. Your bankruptcy lawyer will have seen enough information to know if your tax debt is or is not dischargeable. Some 3+ year old tax debt is dischargeable, and without seeing the details he saw, there is no way to answer you.
Tax debt can be tricky. Usually, tax debt over 3 years old is dischargeable. However, there are some exceptions depending on when the returns were filed and whether or not the tax debt is related to a later reassessment by the IRS. Also, if there are tax liens, the debt may be dischargeable, but the liens will not go away, and can cause issues in the future. The basis answer is that, although the irs views taxes owed by a couple to be joint debt, your bankruptcy discharge, if applicable, will free you from this liability while leaving him liable. Thus, your divorce should be specific about what is to be done with the tax debt. Technically, the debt was originally joint debt, so saying that each is liable for his or own debt may not be very clear. Also, in cases where there is a dischargeability of taxes in a chapter 7, I always file an adversary against the IRS. That way, I have an order entered by a bankruptcy judge that specifically addresses what taxes are and are not dischargeable. The IRS is notorious about continuing to send letters about discharged taxes, and having an order to shove down their throat is very helpful.
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