I received half of my ex’s 401k through a QDRO. I used a majority of the money to put a down payment on a house for myself and my kids. Will I have to pay a penalty on this or is there a way around it?

I just had someone do my taxes for me. I owe $17,000 in taxes and penalties. Not only am I getting charged a penalty, I’m also having to pay back the health insurance tax subsidies I received in 2014, even though I didn’t have the income at the time I had the insurance through the marketplace.

I’m a single mom and cannot afford to pay this amount. I kept $10,000 in savings in case I had extra taxes to pay, but that’s all I have. Is there any advice you can give me?

The QDRO is designed to allow parties to make a tax-free transfer incident to divorce - but the money you received should have been deposited into another retirement account in order to avoid a tax penalty. It sounds like you used this money to make a downpayment on the house, in which case you most likely have incurred a penalty for taking an early withdrawal.

Questions about how to avoid certain tax penalties are outside of the scope of this forum; these questions are better directed to a CPA or attorney who focuses his or her practice in taxes.