There are some circumstances in which federal taxes may be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.
While it is possible to include taxes owed the IRS when you file for bankruptcy protection, there are very strict conditions that need to be met. If you are considering doing this, you must seek the experienced legal counsel of an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer.
If you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is by far the most common bankruptcy declared in the U.S., federal income taxes may be discharged only when the taxes in question are more than three years old, were assessed on previous returns at least eight months prior to seeking bankruptcy protection, and you did not file a fraudulent tax return or try to avoid paying taxes. The issue is that if you are seen to have made an effort to pay the taxes, but just did not have enough funds at your disposal, you may be able to discharge your federal taxes.
The courts may consider discharging a tax debt, if the IRS has not already filed a tax lien on your assets. If they have, the lien will then carry over through the bankruptcy, meaning the IRS may still seize your property to collect on your debt. By and large, debtors may find this process more beneficial for them, instead of agreeing to what the IRS refers to as an “offer in compromise.” That would, if the debtor accepts it, mean they must make payments for a long time to come.
Federal tax liens are a tricky area, and you really need to understand how this process may work, by consulting with an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. For instance, any federal lien filed against property prior to a bankruptcy, should only attach to the equity you have at the time the bankruptcy petition is filed.
Make certain that before you file for bankruptcy protection that you are up-to-date on all of your tax returns and amendments before going to the 341 meeting. The fact is there are a large number of bankruptcy trustees who refuse to have a 341 hearing if you are missing tax returns for the last four years. If information is missing, the trustee will not know if you have non-dischargeable tax liability, which makes a difference in how your case is handled. In other words, be prepared before filing Chapter 7, and do it in partnership with an experienced Iowa bankruptcy lawyer.