June 2, 2011
Innocent Spouse: A MemoirInnocent Spouse: A Memoir (Crown, May 10, 2011), by Carol Ross Joynt:
Carol Ross Joynt was a successful television producer in Washington, D.C. Her husband, Howard, owned Nathans, a legendary restaurant in Georgetown. From an outsider’s perspective, Carol and Howard lived a fairy-tale life—spending weekends at their Chesapeake Bay estate, rubbing shoulders with New York’s and Washington’s elite, and raising their beloved son, Spencer. But everything changed with Howard’s sudden death when Spencer was only five years old.
Like any widow, Carol was devastated because she lost the love of her life and her son’s father. But soon Carol had much more to cope with than her grief and new life as a single parent. As she was forced to take over her family’s legal and financial responsibilities, as well as run Howard’s restaurant on her own, Carol discovered that her husband had secrets, and one of them, an almost $3 million debt to the IRS, threatened to derail her entire life. And even though Carol didn’t know anything about the tax fraud—finances had always been Howard's department—no one cared. As his surviving spouse, legally, Carol was responsible.
As Carol picks up the pieces of her fractured life and copes with her sadness and anger, she learns to become something she’d never been before: self-sufficient. Poignant, eye-opening, and at times heartbreaking, Innocent Spouse is ultimately an inspiring story of strength and newfound independence in the face of loss and betrayal.
Innocent Spouse does a great job of highlighting a huge tax problem and is entertaining to boot. It is a page-turning read about unexpected reversals of fortune, and all of us should be wary of such threats. For 95% of married Americans, that threat is a veritable sword of Damocles–we never know when it may fall. After all, who knows what evil (or sloth or honest but stupid mistakes) lurks in the hearts of men (and women)?
(Hat Tip: Mary O'Keeffe.)
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» I leave to you, my dear wife, an enormous tax problem from Roth & Company, P.C.
The TaxProf tells of a new book about a husband who dies and left behind a secret: Like any widow,... [Read More]
Tracked on Jun 2, 2011 11:26:48 AM
» Tax books, disaster preparedness fill up this week's Follow-up Friday from Don't Mess With Taxes
Welcome to the second edition of Follow-up Friday. You might recall that last week about this time I launched the new feature in which I'll provide updates on previous post topics. Books are the main focus this week. The memoir "Innocent Spouse" looks ... [Read More]
Tracked on Jun 3, 2011 5:39:52 PM
"finances had always been Howard's department" If you do not take the time to review the family's finances and the tax returns you sign, you are hardly innocent. Nothing in this piece even suggests that Howard hid anything from his wife or deceived her.
An ostrich is not innocent, it merely is blind.
I believe the Code provides an increased standard deduction for the blind, but nothing more. If people who truly cannot see can be held responsible for the contents of their tax returns, surely this woman should be as well.
Maybe if the politicians in Congress paid more attention to collecting outstanding tax due to the government -- not looking for cheaters, not discussing how to tax people, but collecting money that is no one disputes that is legally owed to the government -- then maybe Congress wouldn't have to scapegoat Federal employees and strip them of their wages and benefits or scream about whether to tax the rich or not and how much.
This woman owes millions of dollars to the Fisc. Go and get it. Why should taxpayers have to make up the lost revenue from non-taxpayers like these?
Posted by: tax guy | Jun 2, 2011 9:06:34 PM