Tax debt and bankruptcy
Mississippi residents who find themselves with debts they cannot afford to pay have the option of voluntary bankruptcy. A voluntary filing means that a debtor chooses to file for bankruptcy without being petitioned to do so by a creditor. While bankruptcy can wipe out many types of debt, some debts are excluded. For example, taxes owed are often not allowed to be dismissed in bankruptcy. It all depends on what type of taxes, what type of bankruptcy and whether or not the taxes in question meet some very specific criteria.
For individuals and couples, there are generally two types of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 dismisses allowable debt and liquidates some assets to pay creditors. On the other hand, Chapter 13 requires making payments to creditors for a period of time under an affordable payment plan. When the payment plan is completed, remaining debt is dismissed.
Taxes can sometimes be eliminated by bankruptcy, but there are very stringent rules about this. Generally, taxes can be discharged if they are associated with a tax return that was due at least three years before the bankruptcy was initiated and filed at least two years before the bankruptcy. If an associated return was never filed, the taxes cannot be discharged. The taxes must also have been assessed at least 240 days before bankruptcy was filed.
This is only a partial list of the criteria that must be met for taxes to be dischargeable. Additionally, the rules could be different if the bankruptcy is involuntary.
When someone is considering bankruptcy, they might not have the option of filing for Chapter 7 if they do not meet the income requirements. Chapter 13 is considered to be bankruptcy for wage earners who have steady income and can make payments under a payment plan. A lawyer could help a debtor decide which type of bankruptcy to file.