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TIGTA Reviewed IRS Exams of Joint Returns Where Couple Divorced or Separated

By Tom Ochsenschlager, J.D., CPA

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released Report Number 2022-30-058 regarding its review of case files from the Office of Appeals and Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) where the IRS had determined a balance due on a jointly filed return but at the time of the IRS determination, the taxpayer and spouse were separated or divorced. TIGTA was concerned that although the husband and wife who filed the return were both liable for the underpayment, the IRS Appeals and TAS failed to disclose joint collection liability to the separated or divorced spouse during the examination or its determination, resulting in the former spouse having a liability but no way to participate in the examination process.

The TIGTA report recommended that the IRS provide guidance on what collection activity must be disclosed to both taxpayers filing the joint returns and additional training for Appeals personnel to implement the guidance. The IRS agreed to both recommendations.


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