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Can You File Bankruptcy On Income Taxes

Tax Debt In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

What Happens to Your Income Tax Refund When You File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy where the court trustee arranges a partial repayment plan, then your tax debt will be included in the plan. If it meets the five criteria listed above, then it will be deemed a nonpriority debt.

This means it will get treated like credit cards and other debts that are generally easy to discharge. Instead of paying off the full amount, the court will determine how much you can reasonably afford to repay. You will repay some of the debt you or the IRS or your state tax office in your payment plan. Then the remaining balances will be discharged.

If your tax debt does not meet those five, then it may be deemed a priority debt. You will still be able to pay it off under your repayment plan. However, it must be repaid in full.

Capital Loss Carryover Worksheetlines 6 And 14

Partnerships and Corporations

Filing Requirements

A separate taxable estate isn’t created when a partnership or corporation files a bankruptcy petition and their tax return filing requirements don’t change. The debtor-in-possession, or court-appointed trustee, must file the entity’s income tax returns on Form 1065, Form 1120, or Form 1120-S.

In cases where a trustee isn’t appointed, the debtor-in-possession continues business operations and remains in possession of the business’ property during the bankruptcy proceeding. The debtor-in-possession, rather than the general partner of a partnership or corporate officer of a corporation, assumes the fiduciary responsibility to file the business’ tax returns.


The filing requirements for a partnership in a bankruptcy proceeding don’t change. However, the responsibility to file the required returns becomes that of the trustee, or debtor-in-possession.

A partnership’s debt that is canceled as a result of the bankruptcy proceeding isn’t included in the partnership’s income. However, It may or may not be included in the individual partners income. See Partnerships, later, under Debt Cancellation.


Tax-Free Reorganizations

Internal Revenue Code section 355 generally provides that no gain or loss is recognized by a shareholder if a corporation distributes solely stock or securities of another corporation that the distributing corporation controls immediately before the distribution.


Are Income Taxes Dischargeable In Bankruptcy

The good news for people with old income tax debt is that can be discharged in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code stipulates the criteria that must be met in order for a tax liability to be discharged:

  • The due date for the taxes was at least 3 years ago
  • The return for the owed taxes was filed at least 2 years ago
  • The tax must have been assessed by the IRS at least 240 days before the bankruptcy is filed
  • You must not have committed tax evasion or fraud

If your past due income taxes fulfill these criteria, a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be good options for you to consider. Our experienced lawyers will explain the entire procedure to you and offer experienced and qualified representation throughout the process to provide tax debt relief.

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What If I Havent Filed My Tax Returns For Multiple Years Can I File Bankruptcy

Yes! We can help you file bankruptcy even if your taxes arent done.

Sometimes, when someone owes money to the IRS, they decide not to file the tax return. The next year, they dont file because they didnt file the last year. This can repeat year after year until it becomes overwhelming. Where do I start? How do I fix this? What about the penalties?

We prepare delinquent tax returns for our clients all the time. Because we are also tax lawyers, we are able to obtain a tax account transcript as well as a wage & income transcript from the IRS. This tax transcript analysis allows us to determine everything we need to know about your tax situation. We can prepare your returns and advise you on what to do next. Sometimes were able to reduce or eliminate tax penalties.

Finally, were able to perform a tax dischargeability analysis to let you know what taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy. If the bankruptcy will not discharge your taxes, we would advise you as to other options such as an Offer in Compromise or Installment Agreement.

What Happens To My Irs Tax Debt If I File Bankruptcy In 2021

Discharging Income Taxes in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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In a Nutshell

The most common of all of debts owed to the IRS is unpaid income taxes, also known as back taxes. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an option if your tax debt meets certain requirements.

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts.

Debts owed to the IRS come in many shapes and sizes. The most common type of debt people owe to the IRS is back taxes, also known as unpaid income taxes. Now that more people freelance full time or moonlight part time, back taxes are a bigger issue than ever.

Looming unpaid debt can be stressful, and the IRS can be aggressive in its efforts to collect back taxes. As a public entity, the IRS is the worldâs largest debt collector, and it has many tools that private debt collectors can only dream of. Fortunately, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a straightforward way to stop IRS harassment. In many cases, as outlined below, bankruptcy might end IRS harassment for good.

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How To Correct An Electronic Return

If we have accepted and processed your client’s T1 return, you may be able to amend and retransmit the T1 return using the ReFILE service. Also, your client can use My Account’s Change my return option. Alternatively, if you are an authorized representative for your client and you have a level 2 authorization on their account, you can also use Represent a Clients Change my return option.

We conduct a review on each return transmitted to us. If there are problems which will prevent processing, the system will indicate the fields you will have to correct. This means the electronic tax return was not accepted for processing and your client’s return is not considered to be filed.

Before signing off the system, print the EFILE web service response screen which contains the error messages. Review these messages or codes to determine what problems exist with the return.

For example, you may receive the following:

2037There is an entry on line 30300 on page 5 of the return for the spouse or common-law partner amount and, if applicable, on line 58120 on the provincial or territorial Form 428. Where your client was married or living common law during the year but on December 31st the marital status was other than married or living common law, enter 1 on line 55220.

You can usually get the full text description of each error clue from your tax calculation software package or by accessing chapter 2 of the RC4018 Electronic Filers Manual.

Five Tips For Bankruptcy Filers

Carl G. Archer, a bankruptcy lawyer with Maselli Warren, P.C., in Hamilton, New Jersey, offers the following tips for individuals filing bankruptcy and an income tax return.

  • Always see an attorney for a bankruptcy case. Inform the attorney as to whether you have filed a return for each of the past three years.
  • If you have not filed yet this year, consider doing so before filing for bankruptcy, unless you know you’re going to get a substantial refund.
  • If you have filed already, make sure the attorney has all tax records, and make sure you have a general explanation of how you used any refund money. The trustees always ask.
  • If you get a refund, and you are considering bankruptcy, do not pay bills with the money. Doing so will slow the processing of your bankruptcy case.
  • File your taxes on time each year. The IRS assesses separate penalties for failure to file and failure to pay, and they will find out if you owe them money even if you do not file. So save yourself at least half the aggravation by adhering to that filing deadline.
  • Remember, with TurboTax, we’ll ask you simple questions about your life and help you fill out all the right tax forms. Whether you have a simple or complex tax situation, we’ve got you covered. Feel confident doing your own taxes.

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    Do Not Ignore Irs Notices Bring The Notice To Our Office At Once

    If you are facing back income taxes, the worst thing you can do is ignore notices from the IRS. The first step to an IRS collection would be to send you a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. If you receive this notice, you should speak to a qualified attorney immediately. There would still be time to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which would halt the IRS collection process.

    Do You Have To File A Tax Return When Going Through Bankruptcy

    Can I File Bankruptcy on Back Taxes?

    While you can sometimes deal with past tax debt through a bankruptcy filing, you wont be protected from all past, current or future tax liability or obligations to the IRS.

    • Chapter 13 filers are required to file returns for tax periods ending within four years of the bankruptcy filing before you have a meeting with creditors to work out your debt repayment plan.
    • In Chapter 7 and Chapter 11, the bankruptcy estate that takes ownership of your assets is also required to file a separate tax return. The return must be filed by the trustee appointed to manage assets but sometimes in Chapter 11, the bankruptcy filer acts as the trustee and thus must take on this obligation.

    And, no matter what chapter of bankruptcy you file under, all tax returns due after you file must be submitted on time unless you file for an extension. Failing to file or request an extension can result in dismissal of your bankruptcy proceedings or conversion of your bankruptcy to a different type.

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    How A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Help

    If your state tax obligation wont go away, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will let you spread the payments over three to five years. Youll have the added benefit of potentially paying less on other debt, such as credit card balances, leaving you a larger percentage of your income to pay off the tax.

    Understand, however, that tax debt can be complicated. Before you explore this route, youll want to get an assessment with a bankruptcy attorney. Getting legal help isn’t as expensive as you’d think, and most people believe hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is well worth the cost.

    Does Bankruptcy Clear Income Tax Debt In Canada

    In most cases, income tax debt is treated similarly to other unsecured debt in a bankruptcy. When the bankruptcy is completed, the tax debt will be cleared along with other debts.

    That being said, there are special rules that deal specifically with tax debts in bankruptcy. We recommend that you contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for a review of your situation. This is a good way to make sure you have explored all your options thoroughly, and at the same time you can confirm that your tax liability will be discharged if you successfully complete a bankruptcy.

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    How Will An Automatic Stay Affect Tax Debt

    The IRS has some fairly extensive rules on what the automatic stay will and wont do when it comes to your back taxes and their collection actions. As with any other type of debt, bankruptcys automatic stay will prevent most collection actions by the IRS, including:

    • Collection letters and balance due notices
    • Wage garnishment
    • Tax refund offset, where they take your current refund to pay off existing tax debt
    • Filing a new Notice of Federal Tax Lien

    However, there are other IRS actions that the automatic stay wont prevent or stop. Even after you file for bankruptcy, the IRS can still:

    • Do a tax audit to determine your liability
    • Issue a notice of deficiency
    • Issue a demand for a tax return if you have not filed yet
    • Refile a Notice of Federal Tax Lien
    • Intercept your tax refund for past-due child or spousal support

    Bankruptcy And Tax Refunds

    Can You File Bankruptcy on Taxes?

    If you become eligible for an income tax refund during your bankruptcy, there are two things to keep in mind:

    • Only paper refund checks are issued during the time your bankruptcy is open.No electronic deposits can be made.
    • Most tax debts are not discharged by your bankruptcy and may still be collected as part of a refund offset.

    For more information on the types of bankruptcy and what debts may remain after bankruptcy, please see the US Federal Courts Bankruptcy page.

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    First Step: Confirm How Much You Owe

    Start by verifying how much you really owe. The best debt solution is tailored to your situation. You should never select a debt solution based on inaccurate information.

  • Make sure that you have submitted all of your outstanding income tax returns and ensure your Notice of Assessments reflect all your payments. In cases where there has been a history of unfiled personal income tax returns, the CRA will on occasion arbitrarily assess an income obligation based on past income history. An arbitrary assessment is the CRAs estimate of what you owe, and if not disputed or appealed within the required time parameters, the CRA can initiate collection action on these assessed balances outstanding.
  • Review all of your tax returns for the past several years to ensure that all possible deductions have been claimed to reduce what you owe. Typically, assistance from a tax professional is a good investment if your tax matters are complicated.
  • Tax Debt: Bankruptcy And The Automatic Stay

    Most IRS collections start with a notice of past-due taxes. Then, every few months, the IRS sends another letter. Each is slightly more threatening than the last. Eventually, these letters become legal notices. They also sometimes involve filing a lien, seizing a bank account, or garnishing wages. The automatic stay acts as a pause button. It prevents creditors from contacting you to collect their debts. As soon as you file your voluntary petition, the automatic stay usually takes effect. When that happens, IRS agents can’t even send you a letter about your back taxes. They are forbidden from trying to collect the debt.

    The automatic stay extends to property as well. Although most of your personal property is exempt â or protected â during Chapter 7, the IRS and other debt collectors can’t touch any of the more valuable assets you happen to own.

    An automatic stay is a powerful tool for protecting individuals. No matter what stage IRS collection efforts are in, the automatic stay stops them cold. With few exceptions, the stay applies to all forms of communication between debtors and creditors. Creditors who violate the stay can face serious consequences. And, although the stay prevents creditors from contacting you, it does not prevent you from beginning conversations with them. This puts you in control of negotiations with your creditors during bankruptcy.

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    Income Tax Filing In The Case Of A Bankruptcy


    Click Coronavirus Disease to see whether the measures adopted by Revenu Québec apply to the information on this page.

    In each of the two returns you are required to file, you must, as a rule, reduce certain amounts used to calculate your non-refundable tax credits in proportion to the number of days in the period covered by the return.

    Interest And Penalties On Taxes In Bankruptcy

    Bankruptcy: Can Income Taxes Be Discharged? (Part 1)

    For the most part, interest and penalties are treated the same in Chapter 7 and 13. However, there are some differences concerning priority debts, which we will discuss.

    Discharging penalties on back taxes. Tax penalties more than three years old are dischargeable in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy unless the IRS or other taxing agency has secured the debt by filing a tax lien.

    Discharging interest on back taxes. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, if the taxes are dischargeable, the interest is also dischargeable.

    Penalties and interest on priority tax debts in Chapter 7. In Chapter 7, penalties and interest on priority tax debts are not dischargeable.

    Penalties and interest on priority tax debts in Chapter 13. All pre-petition penalties and post-petition interest are discharged in Chapter 13 if the debtor completes the Chapter 13 plan. Therefore, if you have significant penalties on priority tax debt, filing under Chapter 13 may be a better option, particularly if you cannot wait for the taxes to qualify under the 3-2-240 rules.

    Penalties and interest on secured tax debts. Interest and penalties on secured tax debt are not dischargeable up to the value of the security interest in the debtor’s property.

    Post-petition interest on secured debts. Taxing agencies may be entitled to post-petition interest on secured tax debts, which the debtor must pay as part of the plan in a Chapter 13 case.

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    Can I Keep My Tax Refund

    It depends on your circumstances. You must inform your trustee when you receive your tax refund. You also need to provide a copy of your ATO Notice of Assessment. It’s important to not spend your tax refund until your trustee makes an assessment and informs you if they have a claim in the refund. Your trustee calculates the following and notifies you of the outcome:

    • Refunds for income you earn before you enter bankruptcy are assets your trustee can claim.
    • Refunds for income you earn after you enter bankruptcy form part of your assessable income for compulsory payments. If your assessable income exceeds a set amount you may need to make compulsory payments. For more information about compulsory payments during bankruptcy see Income and employment.

    You still need to lodge your tax returns as your obligations to the ATO remain during bankruptcy.


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