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My Boyfriend is Scared of the IRS. – Journey

“Dear Steve,

My boyfriend has the IRS after him from a 2009 audit that went into noncollectable status in 2010. Recently, we have had a knock on the door and a note left from the IRS with impending doom.

My girlfriend said that adding a second person on the bank accounts will prevent any bank swipes from the government because they will not swipe a joint account. Is this true?


Dear Journey,

It seems like you are trying to find a trick to jump around the issue rather than deal with it. There is nothing preventing the IRS from suing you and going for a wage garnishment. As far as the account trick that’s not going to deal with the underlying debt and might not even be effective depending on where you live.

If the debt is this old then why not just discharge the debt in a bankruptcy and be done with it once and for all? People think IRS debt can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, but they are wrong.

Tax debt can be eliminated entirely and it will end all future collection efforts and liability.

To discharge the debt:

  • The taxes must be more than three years old at the time the Bankruptcy was filed. The three-year period begins to run from the time the returns were due, (often that is April 15th of the following year, but sometimes a different date applies) plus any periods of extension;
  • If the return was not filed on time, more than two years has expired since the return was filed;
  • If there was an assessment, more than 240 days have expired from the date of the assessment;
  • A lien on any assets which you intend to keep will not be automatically removed, even if the tax is discharged!
  • There has been no fraud, and no intentional evasion of paying the tax.

I’m in favor of closing the door forever on debts you do not have the resources to deal with so you can move forward and learn from the experience. You should consider talking to a licensed bankruptcy attorney in your state to discuss the situation rather than just running and hiding.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Dorothy Bunce

    The IRS does not need to sue to collect. They execute on wages, bank accounts & other assets simply by providing notice by certified mail and then they take, and take and take! Too many people act like ostriches and ignore the IRS warnings and suffer the consequences. I urge folks to stop thinking that they are too small for the IRS to pursue, that bad things won’t happen to them, or that there is nothing that can be done about an IRS debt. I remember sitting in bankruptcy court one morning trying to resist the urge to laugh when a middle age couple claimed that they were tax protesters, didn’t file their tax returns or pay taxes, but were nevertheless “good Americans!”

    • Steve Rhode

      You are correct, they don’t have to sue to reach into accounts. I also agree the head in the sand approach isn’t a good one either.

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