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Married Couples and Misconceptions about their Taxes

That many people in the United States actually overpay their taxes is common knowledge. Many people disagree with this scenario as this is like giving away your hard-earned mone...
Views: 1.828 Created 12/03/2008

That many people in the United States actually overpay their taxes is common knowledge. Many people disagree with this scenario as this is like giving away your hard-earned money. Fortunately, there are steps to take to refrain from getting into this situation. More so, having an offensive plan is better than fighting fires as they arise. The more money you will save and the better advantage you will have if you are more informed about your rights as a tax payer.

Basically, people have an idea of their individual tax benefits and requirements. However, after getting married, they fail to take note that there will also be changes in their tax status. Often times, many people don't take the time to learn all the different tax benefits that are available when they get married, they also hold common fallacies that they have learned from their parents who also did not know the truth.

One of the common  misunderstandings is that when you are married, you are solely responsible for your half of the taxes in your joint income tax return. Although it might seem to make sense, the opposite is undefined in this situation. The IRS has decided that when you choose to file for a joint income tax return, you and your spouse are signing a contract that is binding. That contract includes joint and several legal responsibilities for you and your spouse. This basically means that if one party, that is, you or your spouse, decides to leave, then the remaining party is required to pay 100% of the total amount of taxes due.

Another commonly-held misconception is that when you marry someone who already owes money from the IRS, that debt is considered separate property debt and you are not responsible for it. This is partly undefined, but if you live in one of the nine community property states in the country, then it's absolutely not undefined. Once you get married, all of your assets and incomes are considered community property. In other words, half of your spouse's income is yours, and vice versa. The IRS can actually put a levy on half of your paycheck if your spouse can't settle his/her part of the debt. In addition, refunds which you could have claimed will be forfeited as the IRS will utilize that amount to cover for unpaid taxes.

There are also a number of misconceptions concerning taxes and divorce. Many people think that the total tax due shall be the sole responsibility of by the ex-spouse if the couple gets a divorce. Unfortunately, IRS guidelines do not honor divorce decrees. When a certain portion of the tax due isn't paid, the IRS will go after the person who is more capable of paying and who is more accessible. The divorce decree can only take effect if you have contacted a lawyer who will assist you in enforcing some courses of action against an ex-spouse.

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