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Well by all accounts -- joint was living the American dream.
A rich husband a beautiful child and her own powerful career and then suddenly.
Her husband passed away in Carol Stream like turned into a nightmare upon discovering her husband owed nearly three million dollars to the IRS.
And Carroll was on the hook for well.
She writes about in her new memoir innocent spouse and joins us now with more.
I can't tell you Carol this is sort of one of those dreams you have in the back of your head but what if dream what -- this happened to me.
-- not dream nightmare that's true again.
So tell me.
I was driving the drain your right how did you.
Not knowing any of this well there's a lot of ways I didn't know first of all I had a wonderful marriage I was one of the things that made me extremely happy about it.
Is that I was a journalist I wasn't a business person.
I never -- doing the books I couldn't -- -- so here I managed to fall in love with a man.
Who loved doing the books love paying the bills loved that part.
I'm managing our lives and then I had my part of managing our lives plus.
We had separate careers separate bank accounts separate credit card -- -- -- happy to let him.
Ryan I -- this and he at a very famous bar yet you're watching bar and -- -- well known best location in the city.
And it was wildly successful there was nothing about our lives.
That would have ever made me think.
This doesn't happen now and so it says -- had no reason in your view defame.
And that could be a problem here where there and -- -- along the way.
But before you died and I probably know this is more and -- suspect before he died.
He had said that a couple of times that he was being audited.
And I said -- isn't -- -- any civil it's bad but I thought he was always getting audited.
An ice and and there were other times I would say you know what if any what if I ended up with Nathan's what -- I do.
-- -- you got hit by a track he said salad instantly you don't want to opponent for a day.
But I wasn't given that option when I -- the IRS so three million bucks.
Tell me I got the news and what your immediate reaction once -- the -- -- got the news because.
I was asked to come meet with his tax lawyers and I put on my best suit.
I thought I was going down and that they would.
You know say sign here sign they're going peace.
But instead I sat down and they and they moved this.
Report in front of me from the entire us.
And they said that I mean I didn't know this because they told him not to tell me.
But that Howard was being investigated for -- my tax fraud criminal charges have been dropped before -- died.
But -- That but the fraud case was still in existence and and a huge -- -- knowing what I said it goes away doesn't and they said no they still want their money and I symbol.
What does that mean and they said you're the defendant a year on the well you're the heir to his estate you sign a tax forms -- you're grieving.
And now you have -- I think that was worse than my grief.
Real because because I know I've lost my husband and that was heartbreaking.
But I thought I'll sell this restaurant I'll take this money I'll continue my career I'll take care Spencer.
And and will not -- but when they told me this I thought we're gonna lose everything else we're gonna have nothing because I said to them.
Command does and I knew nothing about this at a course innocent spouse is actually illegal status tell us a little bit about what they mentioned it to me they said you you could go for innocent -- but he wouldn't qualify.
And I said why.
They -- look -- There because I care profession all you have a job and look right here -- So this is that's actually means -- -- -- called a code in the tax law.
That is designed to protect a spouse.
Whose husband or wife has committed tax fraud.
But innocent spouse has to be able to prove they knew nothing about it they didn't benefit.
They didn't know how it happened that and that's it's a very tough defense kept -- a lot of credibility -- you win this argument does that mean you don't have to pay the three million dollar anything that was in my name I got to keep anything that was in his name.
Went to the IRS so most of what we had went to the IRS.
But I was able to keep our house because it was in both our names.
And with our house I was able to rebuild.
Our lives as best -- couldn't keep this going the problem was.
I inherited the restaurant and that was almost worse than the IRS.
Because it was like the Titanic.
And I had a ten year lease and to fulfill.
And during those ten years the -- can pictures pop up all the when it -- what a nightmare and so it what did you learn from this and what can you tell people out there.
Women who might kind of felt like about their -- an -- for men too but it is your right it is much more women because -- like me I mean I'm so happy that you like to balance the book -- I think fit first of all if you end up in -- well with your husband and he uses small business and he's also his own book keeper does his own books.
You should probably either ask for a roadmap of how the business runs.
And if you're the least suspicious maybe ask if you can have your own auditor look at it it might -- yet.
Dinner where you don't talk to each other I I think I would go over so I but I always think if I'd known that that did that pat Howard right going down I might have been able to say -- we can -- that I'll talk about the money you can't ignore that talk about that about him if -- -- if you didn't even attempt an accountant.
-- -- -- -- -- Ask questions ask questions asked questions learning about it and it's it's not fun but learn about -- thank you Carol thank.
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