Spouse’s Unpaid Taxes: Getting Innocent Spouse Relief | Axiom Tax Resolution Group

The IRS has specific rules that govern how taxes are filed. If you had just gotten married, you might be wondering if the “what’s mine is yours” rule applies to your taxes as well. If you find out that your new spouse has unpaid taxes, you may be worried if you will now be liable for that amount of money.

There are many different factors that come into play when it comes to unpaid taxes between spouses. There is a chance that the responsibility to repay the debt may assume solely the responsibility of your spouse; then again, some circumstances may make you just as responsible for the unpaid taxes as your spouse.

This blog post will shed light on the individual factors that affect this situation and how you should handle it.

Married, Filing Jointly Versus Married, Filing Separately

When filing taxes, the IRS encourages couples to file under one household. This means you and your spouse can file under the same setting. Alternatively, if you and your spouse choose to file separately, you will be held responsible for your own taxes and your spouse’s taxes.

If a married couple files a joint tax return, they are filing a federal return together. When a married couple files jointly, they are both officially responsible for the entire amount, even if one spouse didn’t contribute to the unpaid taxes. The IRS will hold both of the spouses responsible for the entire tax amount owed. Additionally, the IRS can assess both spouses for the taxes owed, even if one spouse is deceased.

When Did You Get Married?

The second factor to consider is when you got married. When you get married, you and your spouse will combine your incomes and assets to make a household. You and your spouse will be held responsible for your household’s taxes. If you file a joint return, you are responsible for the taxes, even if your spouse owed them.

However, if you file a separate return, you are responsible for your own taxes. If you are filing separately, you will be responsible for the taxes on your income alone.

Innocent Spouse Relief

The IRS has a specific rule that allows individuals who do not owe taxes to receive credits for the taxes owed by their spouses. This is called innocent spouse relief. If you can prove that you are not at fault for the unpaid taxes, you may be able to receive credit for the unpaid taxes, even if you filed a separate return.

When filing taxes, spouses must show proof that they did not know that they were married when the unpaid taxes happened. For example, if you had just gotten married and your spouse used your name on his/her taxes without your knowledge, you can apply for innocent spouse relief.

If your spouse has already received credit for the taxes owed, you may be able to receive credit for them as well. You might be able to receive credit for unpaid taxes if you filed a separate return.


If you and your spouse owe unpaid taxes, you need to know how this may affect you and your spouse both individually and collectively. If you and your spouse had just gotten married, you may be able to receive credit for the unpaid taxes. This is an important factor to consider since you may be liable for your spouse’s unpaid taxes.

Ignoring your IRS tax problems can be a costly mistake. The trusted tax professionals at Axiom Tax Resolution Group are ready to find a permanent solution to your tax problems with the IRS. Make an appointment with us today!