When a married couple files a joint return and has tax debt, the IRS considers each of them to be fully responsible for paying the entire amount no matter which one is responsible for creating the tax debt. In some cases, one of the spouses will have a large debt that the other doesn’t know about, and it isn’t reported on the tax return. If this is the case with a return you’re now being asked to pay and based on your situation, you can show that you shouldn’t be held liable for the debt, you may be eligible for innocent spouse relief. If so, the tax debt can be separated and your spouse or ex-spouse will be the only one responsible for paying it.