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San Jose, CA tax lawyer for innocent spouse relief

Married couples have the option to file a joint tax return instead of separate tax returns. There are often benefits to choosing this filing status, but there can also be drawbacks. Couples who file jointly are “jointly and severally” responsible for any tax liability, interest, or penalties due. The terms “jointly and severally” mean that each spouse is legally responsible for the entire tax debt. When one spouse does not adequately fulfill his or her tax obligations, this can leave the other spouse in serious trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Fortunately, there are several ways that a spouse in this situation can be released from tax liability. One of these types of tax relief is called “innocent spouse relief.”

What Is Innocent Spouse Relief?

Imagine this scenario: your wife is a business owner who struggles to keep track of her profits and expenses. When you jointly file your tax returns, the IRS notices that there are inconsistencies with the business income, expenses, and/or deductions. You are audited. As a result, both of you now owe a significant amount of money in back taxes. In situations like this, innocent spouse relief, also called innocent spouse protection, may help a guiltless spouse avoid his or her spouse’s tax liability.

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San Jose CA tax debt lawyer for passportsFailing to pay your tax obligations can lead to major consequences. One problem you might run into is that you may not be able to obtain a U.S. passport or renew an existing passport. Carrying tax debt could also keep you from using your already issued passport. This can be detrimental for those who need to travel internationally for work or family reasons.

The IRS has prioritized the enforcement of this consequence of not paying back taxes for the past year. The law targets those with “seriously delinquent tax debts,” which is defined as a debt of $52,000 or more, including taxes, penalties, and interest.

If the IRS identifies you as being seriously delinquent, it will inform the State Department, which by law will deny a passport application or renewal. If you have in your possession a valid passport, the State Department also has the power to revoke the passport or limit your ability to leave the United States.

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delinquent tax debt, San Jose delinquent tax attorney, back taxes issues, IRS property seized, tax debtIf you have a delinquent tax debt, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), or California Board of Equalization (BOE) may have the power to take your property. This power to seize, or levy, your assets is why you should seek to remedy the delinquency as soon as possible through an installment agreement or other means.

The levy process is meant to satisfy your tax debt. The IRS, FTB, or BOE may seize your property and sell it, if necessary, and apply the proceeds to your delinquent taxes. The cost of the sale may also have to be paid by the taxpayer through the levied property.

The following property is subject to seizure:

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Tagged in: tax debt

San Jose tax law attorney, unpaid taxesA new law will soon go into effect that will revoke the passports of taxpayers who owe a significant amount of back taxes. This law was passed in 2015 as a tax collection tool for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Details of the Law

The law allows the IRS to certify your tax debt to the State Department—the agency that issues passports. Once a tax debt is certified, the State Department will revoke passports or prevent passports from being issued to the tax debtor. The IRS has not yet begun certifying tax debt and has not announced the exact date this process will begin; however, the IRS did indicate that the first certifications could come in early 2017.

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