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The Truth About Personal Finance (Collection) by Kay S. Bell, Steve Weisman

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Truth 15. Innocent and injured spouse issues

Most married taxpayers file joint returns. It usually works out well, providing them with a better tax result. But with the benefits come shared responsibilities.

When both a husband and wife sign a return, they agree that each is equally responsible for any tax owed. The legal term is joint and several liability, which essentially means that the IRS can hold either person responsible for all the tax due.

The two signatures also make them liable for tax problems, such as additional tax and any penalties and interest, that arise from errors or omissions on the joint return. It doesn’t matter if only one spouse earned all the income or was the person solely responsible for the improper ...

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