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Different types of tax relief for divorcing Houston couples

It is often said that there are only two guarantees in life: death and taxes. One area of life in which there are few guarantees is marriage. As some Houston-area couples can attest, sometimes marriage ends in divorce. When a couple starts to ponder divorce, the last thing on their mind may be taxes. Still, it is important for former spouses to know which aspects of property division will involve tax obligations.

Even amidst a divorce, both spouses can be held liable for tax returns filed jointly. Generally, the Internal Revenue Service holds each spouse responsible for jointly filed returns. For instance, if one spouse fails to mention all of his or her income to the IRS and ends up owing money to the agency, the other spouse may still have to pay part of the difference post-divorce. However, in some situations, one spouse may obtain relief from the IRS for a portion of that owed money.

There are three types of relief for spouses who had filed jointly with their ex. One is known as Separation of Liability Relief. This is appropriate for a situation in which additional tax money owed needs to be allocated to the proper individual. Another is called Innocent Spouse Relief, and is helpful when one's ex failed to report his or her income, or reported that income improperly. Finally, another type of relief is called Equitable Relief, and may be applicable to those whose situations don't fit into the other two categories.

As with all issues involving both taxes and divorce, it may be beneficial to get more in-depth information from an attorney. Nowadays, property division is much more than simply determining and dividing marital property, although even that can prove complicated in itself. However, tax obligations both during and after a split can also be difficult to navigate without a professional's knowledge and advocacy.

Source: ABC 7 News, "How divorcees can get hit with ex-spouse's tax penalties," Judy O'Connor, Nov. 25, 2013

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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