Do you suspect that your spouse is being untruthful with the IRS? Tax fraud is a serious crime, and you can end up in court. Even if you suspect your partner is filing fraudulent returns, you need to take steps to protect yourself from legal and financial trouble. Why? Any time you sign a tax return, you become equally responsible for what's in it as well as the tax bills related to it.

So, what should you do now in order to avoid future problems? Here are a few steps to take. 

1. Get a Second Opinion

Unless you are a tax accountant, you should get professional assistance determining if what you suspect is likely to be true. If your taxes have been filed by the same preparer or CPA, take a copy of the returns to a different expert for a consultation. If you don't have copies of the returns, you can request copies for several years from the IRS. Based on this second opinion, you may find your fears assuaged. Or you may need to move on to the next step.

2, Gather Paperwork

If you need to prove your own innocence in the case of any legal wrongdoing, you'll need backup documentation. Make and store your own copies of as many past returns as you can get hold of. Make copies of your bank statements, investment accounts, and credit card statements. Keep this in a safe deposit box or other off-site safe storage location.

3. Switch to MFS

No matter how serious your concerns are (or aren't), consider filing separately from your spouse for your own peace of mind. Switching from "Married Filing Jointly" (MFJ) to "Married Filing Separately" (MFS) may cost you some money on future tax bills, but it keeps you safe from your spouse's future shenanigans. 

4. Request Innocent Spouse Relief

Even if you stop filing jointly, you are still potentially liable for the past returns that you signed together. To separate yourself from any past fraud, you'll need to file for innocent spouse relief. This process allows you to certify that you didn't know of or take part in spouse misinformation on past returns. The IRS can then use this information to absolve you of responsibility for taxes and penalties for past wrongdoing. 

Even if you know nothing about the income tax system, you can take control of your own situation by following these steps. By seeking out services versed in personal income taxes and resolution of tough situations, you'll be able to move forward with less worry and more confidence. For more assistance, contact companies such as Inside Out Tax Resolution Services.