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Can I File Bankruptcy if I Haven't Filed Taxes?

If your debt struggles have gotten in the way of other financial concerns like filing your taxes, you may be wondering whether bankruptcy protection is still available to you. The answer depends of several factors and varies from person to person.

There are important considerations to keep in mind when it comes to unfiled taxes, tax debts, and bankruptcy. To speak with a bankruptcy lawyer about your personal tax and bankruptcy situation, please fill out the case review form below today.

Bankruptcy & Unfiled Taxes

If you have not filed your tax returns (whether for a single year or for many years), this may affect your ability to file for bankruptcy. Copies of your tax returns may be required as part of your filing. You can discuss your ability to file with local bankruptcy attorney.

It's also important to understand how the bankruptcy court will view your tax debt.

  • Non-dischargeable tax debt: In most cases, tax debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy court. This means that, if you owe money to the federal government, you'll likely have to repay it even if you file a bankruptcy petition. In a Chapter 13 case, that might mean that the government is one of the creditors you repay as part of your repayment plan. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that might mean that you reaffirm your debt and make payments to the IRS with money freed up when other debts are discharged.
  • Unfiled taxes: While it may be possible to file bankruptcy if you did not file your taxes, you will not be able to discharge any tax debt from years in which you did not file a tax return. This rule was introduced as part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA).
  • Offer in compromise: In some rare cases, the IRS will agree to an offer in compromise (OIC) with a taxpayer who is unable to afford the full amount of the taxes owed (even with help from the bankruptcy court). OICs involve the IRS accepting less than the total amount a taxpayer owes, and generally require that the taxpayer pay more than what could reasonably be collected by a debt collector.

Ask a Lawyer about Your Tax Debt and Bankruptcy

The specifics of how taxes are handled by the bankruptcy court vary widely depending on an individual filer's circumstances (and depend on factors such as the age of the tax debt, whether a return was filed, what type of tax debt was involved, what type of bankruptcy a filer chooses and more).

If you're interested in learning about how your tax debt might be handled if you file for bankruptcy, please take this opportunity to speak with a bankruptcy attorney practicing near you.

You can arrange a free, no-obligation bankruptcy consultation with a local attorney today. Just use the free case review form below to get started.

The above information is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Consult an attorney in your area for legal advice on your particular situation.

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