by Steven A. Leahy
Are taxes dischargable in bankruptcy? The answer is – It depends. Some taxes are never dischargable. For example Trust Fund Recovery Penalties (TFRP) – that is, taxes imputed to the responsible party for non-payment of payroll taxes – are never dischargable in bankruptcy.
However, some income taxes are dischargable in bankruptcy. There are three important dates to remember. First, the tax must be due more than 3 years ago. 2010 tax returns were due April 15, 2011 – unless an extension was filed. An extension would move the due date to October 15, 2011. Second, the tax return must be filed more than 2 years ago. And, finally, the taxes must have been accessed more than 240 days ago. If all three of these date requirements are met – then the taxes may be dischargable. However, calculating the dates can be tricky.
Some events, such as a prior bankruptcy, Offer in Compromise application or a Collection Due process appeal, stop the clock on the time periods discussed here. So, merely looking back and counting the days may not give an accurate determination of dischargability.
Another obstacle may be the taxpayer’s failure to file tax returns at all. If a taxpayer fails to file a tax return, the IRS may file the return for them. When the IRS files a return for a taxpayer, the return is referred to as a Substitute for Return (SFR). A SFR is NOT considered a return for the purposes of determining discharagablity in bankruptcy.
Recently, I helped a taxpayer with his IRS problem, after he thought the problem was resolved through a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. His confirmed plan called to pay his IRS debt at 10% of the balance due. He paid his Trustee payments for five (5) years, and received his discharge upon completion. He was shocked to find that he still owed the IRS more than $60,000.00, and the IRS was aggressive in collecting that amount from him after bankruptcy. This taxpayer’s taxes were not discharged because several of his prior returns were SFRs.
If you owe the IRS money, and you are contemplating discharging irs debts in bankruptcy, make sure your attorney understands both tax law and bankruptcy law. A comprehensive investigation should be completed before you decide what remedy is best for you. Often, bankruptcy can be the best remedy, even if some or all the tax is not dischargable. But you should have all the information to make an informed decision. If an IRS debt will remain after bankruptcy, you should know that going in.
Before you file bankruptcy you should give me a call. We can discuss discharging irs debts in bankruptcy, or some other option. – Opem Tax Resolutions & The Law Office of Steven A. Leahy, PC (312) 664-6649. Call NOW to set up your FREE Consultation.