This is a big deal.  The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the IRS may be able to force a sale of a home jointly owned by a married couple to satisfy the tax debt of only one spouse. 

In Winsper, 6th Cir., a husband owed the IRS $900,000 in separate taxes from his wife. The husband's portion of the equity from a forced sale would not have satisfied the debt, and the wife's equity share would have been insufficient to afford her suitable housing.  A lower district court ruled that the IRS could not force the sale for these reasons.

In a bizarre twist, the appeals court ignored the strong state law presumption against forced sales of joint property, finding that "other factors" weighed heavily in favor of the government.  The case has been sent back to district court for further findings on the appropriateness of the sale.  Stay tuned for more on these developments.

Your old tax burdens may affect others.  They may become your spouse's burden, or vice versa, if the IRS is allowed momentum to get at property jointly owned by a spouse with IRS problems and one innocent spouse.  Call Travis Watkins at 800-607-1192 or locally at 405-607-1192 (OKC) or 918-877-2794 (Tulsa) to find out your rights in these situations.

Travis Watkins
Senior Tax Attorney
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