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Do I Have to File Taxes to File Bankruptcy?

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Morgan R. Teague, Esq.
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Do I have to file taxes in order to file for bankruptcy?
That answer depends on a few things. First, are you required to file taxes? If you income is at an amount where you are not required to file taxes, then not filing taxes is not an issue. If however, your income requires that you file taxes and you just fail to do so then we have to look at what Chapter of bankruptcy you are looking to file.
If you are filing a Chapter 7 then trustee wants your most recently filed taxes. If for example you file bankruptcy in December, 2011 the trustee will want a copy of your 2010 taxes upon filing (or the last you filed). Depending on your expected 2011 refund, they may want a copy of those once they are filed to determine whether the refund or a portion of the refund is owed to the bankruptcy estate. If they do request these taxes, then yes they can require you to file your taxes. Failure to cooperate with the trustee can result in denial or revocation of your discharge so if the trustee asks for documentation, provide it!
If you are filing a Chapter 13, the trustee wants a copy of your most recently filed taxes. However, there is also a requirement in Chapter 13’s that you have to have filed the past 4 years of taxes (if income required you to do so). Both Missouri Department of Revenue and Chapter 13 trustee can file motions or objections in your bankruptcy case until these are completed. If you still fail to file the required taxes, it can lead to dismissal of your case.

Category: Bankruptcy

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