I'm In The Middle Of A Divorce In Florida. Should I File A Joint Tax Return With Him Next Year?
There are pros and cons to filing taxes jointly during a divorce versus separately.
Typically, the tax treatment for married couples who file jointly is better than married couples who file separately.
However, the spouse who did not prepare the return may be scared that the other spouse may have lied about income or deductions in order to pay less.
If your spouse lies about income and deductions, and you sign the joint tax return, you are “jointly and severally” liable for all taxes that are due on that return.
If there is an audit later, and additional taxes are assessed, there will be no way to ensure that your spouse will pay those extra taxes, and you could get stuck with the entire bill.
You could ask your spouse to sign an indemnification agreement, promising to pay any future tax assessments related to that tax return.
It’s worth noting that the IRS does not honor those agreements, and could still come after you for the taxes owed.
You would then have to try to obtain reimbursement for any tax you have to pay from your spouse.
In addition, there is a rule called “innocent spouse relief”, which says that a spouse can be relieved of liability for understated taxes on a joint return if the spouse can prove they did not know there was an understatement.
However, it can be very difficult to prove that you did not know the taxes
The bottom line is you should have an understanding about whether or not the income reported on your tax returns is reasonable.
If so, you may be financially better off signing that return in order to take advantage of the benefits of filing jointly. If you believe your spouse is lying about his or her income, you shouldn’t sign it.