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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on Jul 15, 2011.

Question

My husband has our taxes prepared by an accounting firm and forged my signature on the tax return. It turns out that our income was significantly greater than I could have ever imagined (we paid 2.6 million in taxes). He left a refund on the table of $163,000 and has yet to file the 2010 taxes. The accounting firm won''t speak to me as the K1 is in my husband''s name. My husband filed for divorce June 17th. Do I have have any recourse? Is the accounting firm liable for allowing my husband to forge my name? May I ask for the supporting documentation on the 2009 taxes? I think my husband may have put money in a foreign bank account and doesn''t want me find out. Is there a monetary penalty for delaying a filing of your tax return even if you have filed an extention ?

Answer

The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct considers both spouses to be a client with respect to joint returns that were prepared.  Therefore, release of the documentation used to prepare the joint return (presumably also including the K1 you mentioned)  would not be a violation of these rules.

A tax return signed by only one spouse can qualify as a joint return if the non-signing spouse gave tacit content to the return, for example, if you did not object to your husband's filing a joint return and you failed to file a separate return.  The issue of forgery would therefore have to depend on facts and circumstances. 

If you have filed an extension and have paid in at least 90% of the ultimate tax liability, there is no penalty for filing the return (if filed by the extended due date), although there may be an interest charge if there is additional tax due.

If you believe your husband is hiding assets, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. 


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