What To Do When You Owe Joint Tax Debt in MN With a Non-Filing Spouse or Ex

Posted by Col Ovik on March 13, 2021 at 7:16 AM
Col Ovik

Two gold wedding bands and the silver tip of a pen lay on a 1040 tax form, laying on a mint-green colored surface, posing the statement, What to do when you owe joint tax debt in MN with a non-filing spouse or ex.If you file bankruptcy and your spouse does not file with you, your spouse will remain liable on any joint debt. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, priority debts like tax debt must be paid in the plan or through the bankruptcy. This is great news if you want a payment plan for your tax debt. However, the co-debtor on the tax debt is not protected by the automatic stay in a chapter 13 bankruptcy from the taxing authority.

The Exemption for Co-Debtor Joint Tax Debt in MN

Normally, in a chapter 13, if there is joint debt with an individual who is not filing bankruptcy with you, the co-debtor will be protected by the automatic stay. This means the creditor for the joint debt cannot collect from you and additionally they cannot collect from your co-debtor during the duration of the chapter 13 bankruptcy. But the exception to this protection for the co-debtor is the joint tax debt. The IRS and the Minnesota Department of Revenue can still collect from your co-debtor if they are not in the bankruptcy. The automatic stay does not extend to the co-debtor when the debt is tax debt.

Protecting the Non-Filing Spouse from Collection By the Taxing Authority in MN

If the plan payments are small, the taxing authority may not start receiving payments for some time. During this time, the taxing authority is likely to reach out to the co-debtor and commence collection efforts from them for the joint tax debt.

To prevent the taxing authority from collecting from a non-filing spouse, a possible alternative is to set-up a small payment plan with the taxing authority. This will prevent the taxing authority from taking additional measures against the non-filing spouse.


Co-debtors on joint tax debt are not protected by the automatic stay. The taxing authorities can continue to pursue your co-debtor for the debt owed. To prevent these collection efforts a small payment plan may be necessary with the taxing authority. Contact the attorneys at Kain and Scott and see us at www.kainscott.com. You will be glad you did!


Topics: Taxes, bankruptcy in minnesota

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