Can I add income tax debts in my bankruptcy? 8 Answers as of April 13, 2011

If I already have a bankruptcy case discharged, can I reopen it and add debts owed from income taxes?

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Benson Law Firm
Benson Law Firm | David Benson
The issue of income tax debts can be a complicated one. Under certain circumstances, income tax debts will not be dischargeable despite being more than three years old. For example, if your return was not filed until less than two years before filing for bankruptcy, the tax is probably not dischargeable. If the IRS or the state assessed the tax less than 240 days before the bankruptcy filing, discharging the obligation will likewise probably fail. And if the return filed was arguably fraudulent, you most assuredly have an uphill battle to discharging the obligation. I would strongly suggest talking to your bankruptcy lawyer before going through the expense of reopening your case to address any additional tax debts.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/13/2011
California's Largest Family of Attorneys
California's Largest Family of Attorneys | Doan Law Firm
Generally you can add tax obligations to your bankruptcy, depending on how old they are. It is harder to reopen your case once it has been discharged. Please contact a tax attorney or a bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/12/2011
Ferguson & Ferguson
Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
You must ask the attorney that filed your bankruptcy. They would be in the best position to determine if you can reopen case.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 4/11/2011
Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
Leaving debts out of your bankruptcy is lying to the court. You should have listed the tax debts when you filed. Why did you leave them out? Didn't you get asked at your hearing if you listed ALL your debts? Lying is bad. Whether bankurtpcy would discharge the tax debts is a different question. Usually you can discharge income taxes if you filed bankruptcy three years after they were due and you filed on time or close to on time. If you meet that rule, you will likely need some help persuading the IRS, and explaining why you filed a false bankruptcy statement.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 4/11/2011
The Orantes Law Firm
The Orantes Law Firm | Giovanni Orantes
Adding them would only matter if they are dischargeable to begin with. In very broad strokes, the taxes have to be for a year for which a return is due in the 2 years prior to the bankruptcy filing unless they were assessed within 240 days prior to the bankruptcy petition date. If they are dischargeable, you may want to reopen the case to add the taxing authority though some cases say you don't need to reopen if there was no distribution in your Chapter 7 case. In any case, the answer to your question may have nuances I can only give you orally. Call us.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/11/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    Income taxes are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Ever.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 4/11/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    The court is not likley to let you reopen the bankruptcy to add debts. Additionally the taxes have to meet certain criteria to be dischargeable. Generally they have to at least 3 years old and assessed for 240 days.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/11/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Depending on what jurisdiction your case was filed in, and what Chapter you filed, you may or may not need to reopen a case to add inadvertently omitted creditors. For example, if you filed in the 9th Circuit (California, Oregon, Washington, etc.) and it was a Chapter 7, No-Asset case, then there's no need to reopen to add a creditor. The debt was automatically included and, if dischargeable, it was discharged. Tax debts are only dischargeable if they meet specific criteria. There are several prerequisites that must be met before any tax can be discharged in bankruptcy. The minimum requirements for discharging federal or state/income taxes/ are (all of the following must be met) that as of the date of filing of your case: (1) it has been more than 3 years since the returns were last DUE (including extensions) to be filed, (2) the returns were timely filed _or_ it has been at least 2 years since the returns were filed, (3) there was no fraud involved or attempts to evade the tax, AND, (4) the taxes were not assessed within the last 240 days.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/11/2011
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