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805.202.4688 Santa Barbara

351 Paseo Nuevo -2nd Floor

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

661.631.0252 Bakersfield

1712 19th St. Suite #217

Bakersfield, CA 93301

805.409.0540 Westlake Village

2945 Townsgate Rd. Suite 200

Westlake Village, CA 91361

805.654.1467 Ventura

3639 E. Harbor Blvd. Suite #103

Ventura, CA 93001

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Email:     Fax: 805.830.0387

Susan J Salehi Attorney at Law


Serving California Bankruptcy Clients Since 1992

Experienced Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney

Offices in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, and Woodland Hills

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Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Susan J. Salehi Bankruptcy Lawyer for Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, Kern County, Los Angeles County Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

Taxes and Bankruptcy

You can discharge (wipe out) debts for federal income taxes in Chapter 7 bankruptcy only if all of these five conditions are true:


  1. The taxes are income taxes. Taxes other than income, such as payroll taxes, Trust Fund Recovery Penalty or fraud penalties, can never be eliminated in bankruptcy.

  2. You did not commit fraud or willful evasion. You did not file a fraudulent tax return or otherwise willfully attempt to evade paying taxes, such as using a false Social Security number on your tax return.

  3. You pass the three-year rule. The tax return was originally due at least three years before you file for bankruptcy.

  4. You pass the two-year rule. You actually filed the tax return at least two years before filing the bankruptcy -- having the IRS file a substitute return for you doesn't count unless you agreed to and signed the substitute return.

  5. You pass the 240-day rule. The income tax debt was assessed by the IRS at least 240 days before you file your bankruptcy petition, or has not yet been assessed.

If any of the following situations apply to you, you will have to add time to the three-year, two-year or 240-day rules for your debts to qualify for discharge in bankruptcy:

  1. If you submitted an Offer in Compromise, the 240-day rule is delayed by the period of time from when the Offer is made until the IRS rejects it or you withdraw it, plus 30 days.

  2. If you obtained a Taxpayer Assistance Order from an IRS Problems Resolution Officer preventing the IRS from collecting, the bankruptcy court may require that you add the time collection was suspended to the three-year, two-year and 240-day requirements.

  3. If you filed a previous bankruptcy case, all three time periods stopped running while you were in the prior bankruptcy case. You must add the length of your case plus six months to all three.

Caution! A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will wipe out only your personal obligation to pay the debt. Any lien recorded before you file for bankruptcy remains.

After your bankruptcy, the IRS can seize any property you owned at the time the bankruptcy was filed. But this doesn't mean that after your bankruptcy case is over the IRS will come and grab your property. Post-bankruptcy, the IRS tends to seize only real estate and retirement accounts or pensions. And even then, IRS seizures generally take place only when a taxpayer has made no efforts to otherwise resolve the problem. Furthermore, IRS collectors must obtain approval from their supervisors before seizing a house or pension. The IRS is very concerned about negative publicity.

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