“The American tax system mistreats divorced women,” said Elizabeth Cockrell before a Senate Finance Committee hearing, designed to aid in the examination of current IRS procedures and laws. Committee chairman William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del) has suggested that innocent spouse “provisions” will be addressed.
Four women delivered testimony claiming that they have all been pursued by the IRS for their former husbands’ debts. The women all signed joint tax returns during their marriages, but none of them made any tax decisions. The IRS is now claiming that the women owe $300,000 to $650,000 in back taxes. In many cases, when the women’s assets are being pursued by the IRS their former husbands are not.
Under current law, spouses who sign a joint return are responsible for the full amount of income tax due. The Clinton administration has announced plans to provide relief to innocent spouses of IRS investigations.