We just got married in 2012, and my husband owes back taxes. Will the IRS keep my refund to help pay his off?

  • He got incarcerated in Nov. 2012 but the children are biologically mine
If you file a joint tax return the IRS will seize any refund to pay back taxes owed by your husband. If your spouse owes the IRS for back taxes, filing separately will protect your tax refund money from being applied to this debt. However your total 2012 tax liability, back taxes not withstanding, would very like be less if you file a joint tax return. In any event, it would be best if your husband made arrangements with the IRS to pay his back taxes in some agreed manner, over time. Here is information from the IRS on paying money that is owed: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Ten-Tips-for-Taxpayers-Who-Owe-Money-to-the-IRS

Married taxpayers have a choice when selecting their filing status. They can file as either:

  • Married Filing Jointly (MFJ), meaning both persons income and deductions are combined on one tax return and both are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the return.
  • Married Filing Separately (MFS), where each person files a separate tax return, but are subject to limitations as to the credits and deductions available.

Generally married filing jointly has more advantages, or more to the point, offers lower taxes. However, for more about the benefits of choosing one or the other, see Married Filing Jointly vs. Married Filing Separately.

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