Critical Case Comment–IRS and the “Innocent Spouse”

Bankruptcy courts lack jurisdiction to apply “innocent spouse” relief to determine the amount of a tax claim to be paid in a Chapter 13 case.  (Taddonio) In re Geary, 2023 WL 2996720 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. April 19, 2023)

Case Summary

When a taxpayer signs a joint tax return with their spouse, the Internal Revenue Code is very clear.  Both signatories to the return are personally and severally liable for the taxes due. 

This joint and several liability has historically led to situations where one spouse (“innocent spouse . . .

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Copy of Hildebrand-2016
Chapter 13 Standing Trustee for the Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville)

Henry E. Hildebrand, III has served as Standing Trustee for Chapter 13 matters in the Middle District of Tennessee since 1982 and as Standing Chapter 12 Trustee for that district since 1986. He also is of counsel to the Nashville law firm of Belcher Sykes Harrington, PLLC. Mr. Hildebrand graduated from Vanderbilt University and received his J.D. from the National Law Center of George Washington University. He is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and the Nashville Bar Foundation. He is Board Certified in consumer bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification and serves on its faculty committee. He is Chairman of the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee for the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT). He is on the Board of Directors for the NACTT Academy for Consumer Bankruptcy Education, Inc. and is an adjunct faculty member for the Nashville School of Law and St. Johns University School of Law. In addition, he served as a commissioner to the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy.

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