By: Samuel Pittman
Consumers often ask what tax returns have to be filed in order to complete their Bankruptcy. This topic is addressed by different chapters of the Bankruptcy Code. Therefore, the answer will be different based on which Chapter of Bankruptcy code your case is filed under.
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the general rule is that a debtor must provide the Bankruptcy Trustee with the debtor’s most recently filed tax return. See 11 U.S.C. § 521(e)(2)(A)(i). However, it is important to note that this is only a general rule. The debtor has a duty to cooperate with the Bankruptcy Trustee. This duty includes providing the Bankruptcy Trustee with all information necessary to evaluate the debtor’s financial situation. Therefore, the Bankruptcy Trustee may request the debtor provide other years tax returns. Failure to comply with such a request could lead the Bankruptcy Trustee to ask the Bankruptcy Court to deny the debtor a discharge. Typically, the debtor should expect to provide the Bankruptcy Trustee with the two most recent tax returns that were due prior to the Bankruptcy filing. Additionally, upon request of the Bankruptcy Trustee, a debtor in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy must submit subsequent years’ tax returns which come due while the Bankruptcy Case is pending. See 11 U.S.C. § 521(f).
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, a debtor must file their tax returns with the appropriate taxing authority for the tax periods going back four years from the date of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing. See 11 U.S.C. § 1308(a). For example, if you filed for bankruptcy on December 1, 2019, you would need to have filed your taxes for years 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. Absent good cause and Bankruptcy Trustee or Court approval, these taxes must be filed on the day before the Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors. As in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, a debtor in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy must submit subsequent years’ tax returns which come due while the Bankruptcy Case is pending. See 11 U.S.C. § 521(f).
To determine what tax returns you would need to be file to complete a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case, contact Ellett Law Offices, P.C. to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys. Additionally, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine if any past due taxes you owe can be discharged in a bankruptcy.