If Your Parents Pass Owing Money to the IRS, You May Have to Pay Up
Regardless of whether you filed your taxes already or still need to, this is something that you need to think about. If your parents were to pass away and if they happened to owe money to the government, the responsibility to pay up would fall right onto your shoulders. You read that right- the IRS can and will come after you for the debts of your parents.
The United States Treasury Department has been intercepting the tax refunds of people who received overpayments of government benefits in the past and here's the thing -- this isn't anything new, this has been happening for the last several years. Oh but wait, there's more -- it doesn’t matter how long ago the overpayments occurred or even if the people who received them are still alive, which is where you could come into play.
Each year since 2011, hundreds of thousands of people who were expecting to receive a tax refund have instead received a letter informing them that a parent’s debt allowed the federal government to confiscate their refund check.
According to the Washington Post, the policy, which you might not have heard about until now, was actually put into place in 2011 and by 2014, it had already taken $1.9 billion in tax refunds with $75 million of those refunds coming from debts that have existed for over 10 years. The Washington Post says, "Social Security officials say that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred."