When married taxpayers file a joint tax return, both spouses are generally held responsible for all of the tax due even if one spouse earned all the income or claimed improper deductions or credits. This means that the IRS can collect against you as an individual and you and your spouse as a couple. This liability remains even if you later divorce and your divorce decree states that your former spouse will be responsible for any amounts due on previously filed joint returns. In some cases, however, a spouse can get relief from joint and several liability under the innocent spouse provisions. There are three types of relief from joint and several liability for spouses who filed joint returns:
You must request relief no later than 2 years after the date the IRS first attempted to collect the tax from you, regardless of the type of relief you are seeking.