Free Consultation! Call us 24/7!
Taxes and Bankruptcy – Baltimore Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you need help with your past due taxes, there are a lot of bad options and some very good options. Call a Baltimore Bankruptcy Lawyer for exciting information on dealing with your tax problems.
Everyone knows that you can’t discharge taxes in Bankruptcy. That there are some debts that will follow you around forever? Guess what? Everyone is wrong.
Taxes can be discharged in bankruptcy. Let’s consider the hypothetical example of someone who owes taxes going back to 2003. Those taxes will be dischargeable, despite his failure to file the proper returns until a few years ago. It’s going to be difficult and expensive for him, but not as expensive as $75,000 in taxes and penalties would be. This is where a Baltimore Bankruptcy Attorney can really save you money.
Had the debtor done what he should have, and filed his returns on time even if he could not afford to pay, the taxes would still be dischargeable, but the cost would be significantly less. Had the debtor filed each tax year on time, this would be a walk in the park. So why is it more difficult now? Let’s look at the test.
First – Taxes were due more than three years before the bankruptcy. This means that for a case filed on May 1, 2013, the taxes would have had to have been due no later than April 30, 2010 and since most tax years are due on April 15 of the following calendar year, then we are obviously there for any tax year 2009 and back. This is true for my client.
Second – The Tax returns must have been filed at least 2 years before the date of the petition filing. Again, no problem here. My client was late filing all of the returns, but still filed them all more than 2 years before the bankruptcy.
Third – The tax assessment must have been more than 240 days before the petition. This means that the final amount of the tax owed was assessed outside of this time frame. That was the case here.
Fourth – The tax returns must have been truthful and not fraudulent. To the best of his information and belief, that’s the case for my client, but whether or not they are 100% accurate is something I wouldn’t stake my life on. Some of these tax returns were due 6 years before they were filed. A lot can be lost or forgotten in that time frame. But, the client is satisfied that they are accurate and the IRS assessed based on his filing, so they’ve accepted the accuracy as well.
Finally – The debtor cannot have been attempting to evade or defeat the tax by failing to pay. This is where it may come down to litigation and where the client will be coming up with a lot more money to defeat these taxes. This prong of the test makes the question of his motivation in failing to file an issue. Given the right judge (or wrong one, depending on your point of view) the IRS would have an argument that by chronically failing to pay the taxes he was attempting to evade or defeat them.
What are the takeaways?
1 – Not all taxes are forever.
2 – Even if you can’t pay, file on time or get an extension.
3 – Pay the non-dischargeable taxes first (withholding taxes for employers).
4 – Even if your tax debts are non-dischargeable priority unsecured debts, we should still talk about what can be done. A Chapter 13 payment plan can put a stop to interest an penalties continuing to accrue. You may also benefit from a properly drafted offer in compromise. There are options, as many options as there are unique situations.
We are Baltimore Bankruptcy Lawyers, here to help protect you, your family, and your assets. Let us see how we can help you preserve what can be protected from the IRS. Call your Baltimore Bankruptcy Lawyer today at 410-870-9315.