Can I file for bankruptcy if I owe thousands of dollars in back taxes? 34 Answers as of March 04, 2014

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Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Depends on what years and it depends on whether or not you filed a return. You need to see a lawyer. Bring a tax transcript for every year in question with you to the appointment. You can get them at your local IRS office. The lawyer must see that to give you good advice. If the lawyer does not ask to see a tax transcript, get another lawyer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/4/2014
MCBRIDE LAW OFFICE | Robert E. McBride
Yes you may file bankruptcy. However, some or all of your taxes might not be discharged (wiped out) depending on the type of tax (eg personal income tax, employer/payroll/withholding tax, sales tax, etc) and depending on the recency of each tax debt. You should review the dischargeability of each of your tax obligations with a bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 2/28/2014
Law Office of Jeffrey Solomon
Law Office of Jeffrey Solomon | Jeffrey Solomon
Income taxes can be eliminated in bankruptcy under certain conditions. As a partial answer, you might be able to eliminate income taxes if the tax return was due for a tax year more than 3 years prior to filing the bankruptcy. For example, for 2010 income taxes, filing bankruptcy after April 15, 2014 might discharge these taxes. You need to consult with an attorney to fully analyze the issues involved.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/28/2014
R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
You can. The big question is, will the bankruptcy do you any good in terms of having those tax debts discharged. The answer to that depends on what type of taxes you owe and how old they are. If the taxes are anything other than income tax (such as payroll, sales tax, etc.) they will not be discharged. If they are income taxes then it depends on how old the taxes are. The general rule for income tax is the return must have been due more than three years prior to filing, the return must have actually been filed more than two years prior to filing and the tax must have been assessed more than 240 days prior to filing bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 2/28/2014
Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
Most income, employment and other taxes are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy. You would need to consult with someone who specializes in whatever taxes you owe and see if they are dischargeable. Otherwise, there is no point in filing.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/28/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    Yes and depending on the type of tax and how old it is, the taxes may also be dischargeable
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    The Law Office of M Grater LLC
    The Law Office of M Grater LLC | Mark O. Grater
    Yes, you can file for bankruptcy if you owe back taxes.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Stuart P Gelberg
    Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
    Yes but they may or may not be dischargeable
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Deborah F Bowinski, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Debby Bowinski
    Yes, but depending upon the type of taxes owed, what tax years you owe for, and when and whether the tax returns were filed some or all of the tax debt may not be dischargeable. Do not try to do this yourself! Find an experienced bankruptcy lawyer and hire him or her to guide you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    The Law Offices of Deborah Ann Stencel | Deborah A. Stencel
    Yes, but the taxes may not be discharged. Whether taxes are discharged in bankruptcy depends on facts you have not disclosed in your question. See an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    Taxes that were assessed more than 3 years ago can be discharged in bankruptcy, but even if they cannot be discharged, you can still file bankruptcy. A chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an excellent way to pay off taxes over a period of 3 to 5 years. Delinquent taxes will not prevent you from filing a Chapter 7, either, although if the taxes were assessed less than 3 years ago, they cannot be discharged. In either bankruptcy chapter, you are required to file any outstanding returns going back at least 3 years, so even if you are not able to get current on paying the taxes, you are expected at least to file all required tax returns. They don't all have to be filed before you file bankruptcy, but they must be filed before you get your discharge.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A.
    Moore Taylor Law Firm, P.A. | Jane Downey
    Yes you can.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    Yes you can file but I think the question you have in mind is whether any or all of those taxes are potentially dischargeable in bankruptcy. The answer to that question will depend on more information that is not provided in your question.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    Not only can you file for bankruptcy regardless of owing thousands of dollars in back taxes but if your taxes were assessed more than three years ago they actually may be dischargeable in bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    Yes You will either be given am ability to pay and some could be discharged. There are many rules that apply. You should consult with an attorney to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Are back taxes your only debt? There are very specific rules to obtaining a discharge of back taxes in bankruptcy. I would need to discuss your particular case to determine whether your back taxes can be discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
    GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
    Depends. Generally speaking, taxes are dischargeable 3 years after a timely filed tax return, 2 years after a late filed return, and 240 days after an assessment. The filing of a tax lien changes some of these rules. If you owe more than $5,000 in non-dischargeable taxes, you may want to consider a Chapter 13 to set up a payment plan with the IRS. Also, the IRS can not take any legal procedures against you while you are in a confirmed Chapter 13 plan.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    You can always file if you otherwise qualify for bankruptcy, but I would need more information to determine whether you would be able to eliminate these tax debts in a bankruptcy. For example, were the tax returns filed on time? What kind of taxes are owed? Income tax, sales tax, payroll withholding taxes? What years are the tax debts for?
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C.
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
    Yes, you can file bankruptcy if you owe back taxes. The taxes may or may not be discharged or canceled in bankruptcy, it depends on the type of tax and the age of the taxes, whether or not you filed the tax returns for that period of time, many factors. See an experienced bankruptcy attorney to advise you of your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Michael B. McFarland, P.A. | Michael B. McFarland
    Yes, but all of your returns need to be filed - also, depending on how old the tax liabilities are, some or all of them may be dischargeable. You should contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney for assistance in determining that, as it could affect the timing of your filing bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    Yes, but depending on the type and due date of the taxes they may be non dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Heineman Law Office
    Heineman Law Office | Jeff Heineman
    Yes, and some, maybe all, could be discharged in your bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Sure. Owing taxes does not preclude you from filing bankruptcy, except that in a Chapter 13 case you must provide for payment in full of all taxes considered to be "priority" (which, in general, are those tax years for which a return was last due to be filed within 3 years prior to filing the bankruptcy case). Some taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy as well, depending on the age of the taxes, when the returns were filed, and other considerations. Make sure you choose an experienced bankruptcy attorney who has experience with tax analysis in bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Law Office of Marlin Branstetter
    Law Office of Marlin Branstetter | Marlin Branstetter
    Owing back taxes would have no bearing on you right to file bankruptcy. If you are asking if your taxes can be discharged it depends on several factors. Did you file taxes for the years you owe? Did you keep any payment arrangements you may have had with the taxing authorities? How old are the taxes? Was there any fraud or misrepresentation involved? You should contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    If you filed your tax returns more than 2 years ago.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C.
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C. | Ken Parker
    Possibly. It depends on several facts such as how old are the taxes, were the returns filed on time and if the IRS assessed the tax, when did the IRS make the assessment.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Law Offices of Linda Rose Fessler | Linda Fessler
    Yes you can. Depending on the type of tax and the circumstances, some of them may be discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Polsinelli Shughart PC | William B. Prugh
    This is not a simple question, and it all depends on 1) whether tax returns were filed and 2) the age of the tax liability involved and 3) the date of any IRS assessment of additional taxes. You should consult a tax advisor or preparer to be sure you get complete advice.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    Federal taxes can be discharged. In general if they are older than 3 years and have been filed for at least two years, they disappear.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Andrew Gordon
    Andrew Gordon | Andrew Gordon
    Yes, but not all taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy. You should speak to a bankruptcy and/or tax attorney to help you determine.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    You can file but chances are that the type of taxes owed may not be dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Law Offices of Eric W. I. Anglin
    Law Offices of Eric W. I. Anglin | Eric W. I. Anglin
    You can seek to discharge income taxes owed if the following criteria is met: 1. Taxes were due more than 3 years ago including all extensions 2. You must have filed your taxes on time or at least two years earlier. 3. The taxing authority must have assessed the tax liability on you more than 240 days ago. If you owe income withholding taxes (employer withholds taxes from employees' paychecks but doesn't forward to taxing authority) those taxes cannot be discharged under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You need to consult a bankruptcy attorney to assist you with taxes and bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP | Alan E. Ramos
    Yes. However, the taxes may not be dischargeable, so you should speak with an attorney to determine the effect of bankruptcy on your tax liability. This answer was provided as a public service to a question posed on the Law Q & A website. The answer is based on the information provided and is limited to those facts. Furthermore, the answer is based on California law and their application to bankruptcy law in California.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2014
    Thomas Vogele & Associates, APC | Thomas A. Vogele
    Yes, but in most instances, filing a bankruptcy will not relieve you of your tax obligations. Income and other government taxes and levies are not discharged through bankruptcy, except under very limited circumstances. You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your specific situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2014
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