I did not file my 2001-06 taxes for which I was due a refund. I was recently separated and going through some rough times. I went to the IRS to file these taxes last week, and was told that only the 04-06 refunds would be paid. Then the agent told me that even though I was due a refund for 01-03 the IRS filed for me as a single person, and I owed $3000 in taxes for those years. Then they told me that I would have to pay the taxes my husband owed for 1994 & 95. I have a divorce decree stating my--name removed--husband is respondsible for those taxes. The agent said the IRS does not recognize divorce decrees. They made me sign a payment agreement for over $10,000. I do have a refund coming for 04-06 which should eventually take care of what I owe, but I don't understand how they can charge me for taxes I don't owe (01-03) and why when my--name removed--husband receives disability pay from the military they don't make a payment arrangement with him. The IRS claims they don't even have a current address for him.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: back Taxes
From Mr. Mitchell's comments, I hope you see that you will need a tax attorney to assist you with this matter.
Re: back Taxes
Consider the following:
If there was a timely tax return filed for tax years 94 & 95 (by you or your husband), then the statute of limitations for collection or time to collect may have expired. If so, you do not owe the tax. You just need to point out the expired SOL.
Next, consider an innocent spouse claim if there was a joint tax return filed. Another option (possibly a better option) would be to go back and just file a tax return listing your status as married filing jointly. These will be deemed a claim for refund for some tax years (past three). You can have the excess set off your later tax liablities -- even though you cannot get a direct tax refund for older years. Once your returns are processed or the tax is "assessed," contact the IRS again to see how much is then outstanding (order a copy of your tax transcripts if necessary). Make sure that the old un-issued refunds are used to set off future tax liabilties.
Another option, consider having the court that retains jurisdiction over your divorce to order your spouse to pay the tax -- assuming that that is what your decree/separation agreement says and/or what your state law says.
Your tax attorney can help you with these options.
Best of luck.