For bankruptcy cases filed after October 16, 2005, the Bankruptcy Code requires Chapter 13 debtors to file all required tax returns for tax periods ending within 4 years of the debtor’s bankruptcy filing. All such federal tax returns must be filed with the IRS before the date first set for the first meeting of creditors. The debtor may request the trustee to hold the meeting open for an additional 120 days to enable the debtor to file the returns (or until the day the returns are due under an automatic IRS extension, if later). After notice and hearing, the bankruptcy court may extend the period for another 30 days. Failure to timely file the returns can prevent confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan and result in either dismissal of the Chapter 13 case or conversion of the case to a Chapter 7 case.
This article by Robert E. McKenzie was was originally published in Forbes.
Since 2012 the IRS has been much more willing to compromise with taxpayers with overwhelming tax debt than in the prior decade. IRC §7122 permits the IRS to accept offers in compromise in settlement of tax obligations for less than the full outstanding tax liabilities. The willingness of the IRS to exercise this authority has ebbed and flowed through the years. In 2012 as part of its Fresh Start initiatives, the IRS greatly liberalized the standards that it uses for acceptable offers.