The old cliché is correct: the only certain things in life are death and taxes. The IRS does not easily let up on Americans who do not pay their taxes in full. However, when someone owes a debt to the IRS and cannot pay it completely, the agency will sometimes negotiate an Offer in Compromise, or OIC. These allow taxpayers to settle their tax debts for less than what they fully owe. If you are struggling to repay the IRS in full, this offer may be of interest to you.
Yes, is the general answer. To collect seriously delinquent tax debt, currently $51,000 or more including penalties and interest, the IRS now has the power to revoke or deny passports. It took several years to coordinate rules between the IRS and State Department, but last summer the IRS started certifying taxpayers.
Filings a joint tax return assumes that both parties are aware and responsible for their tax liabilities. But in matters of marriage, things are rarely cut and dried.