Texas spouses whose divorcing husbands or wives have controlled the income tax returns during the marriage often worry about having the IRS come after them for back taxes and penalties years after the divorce. If this sounds like you, you can benefit from knowing about innocent spouse relief and an indemnification clause to protect yourself.
When you file a joint return, each of you and your spouse are liable for all of the taxes, penalties and interest owed on the return. After your divorce, you will still be on the hook for the unpaid taxes that apply to your joint tax returns from the years you were married. That is, unless you can qualify for innocent spouse relief.
Early in your divorce, talk with your attorney about getting an indemnification clause in your divorce settlement. In Texas, this would be included in your divorce decree, agreement incident to divorce or a mediated settlement agreement. It would say that your ex-husband or ex-wife is required to reimburse you for future tax liabilities related to prior tax returns.
By the way, the IRS does not care about this indemnification clause. They can still go after you for any taxes, penalties and interest owed from either you or your ex.