Written by: Claudia Revermann, Co-Founder of Lucent Tax Relief, Attorney at Law, CPA
Only around 5% of married Americans choose to file their taxes separately. Typically, the benefits of joint filing outweigh the risks. However, filing jointly with your spouse means that you are both liable for each other's tax responsibilities. The IRS refers to this as joint and several liability.
This marriage of liability means that even if your spouse was the only one with a job and you file jointly, you are individually 100% responsible for ensuring that the taxes are filed, are correct and complete, and any balances are paid on time even if you made no income and wouldn't otherwise owe anything.