Liquidation can frankly be quite overwhelming and confusing for an average person. Filing for taxes while considering bankruptcy (either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) is double trouble. In case you are confused regarding tax filing during the trying times of bankruptcy filing, you can call expert bankruptcy attorneys at 888-297-6023 to find out about your options.
Out of the two possible chapters under which individuals can file for bankruptcy is Chapter 7. This results in the discharge of all unsecured debts like a credit card, medical and even income tax debt in rare cases. Under Chapter 13, you are expected to make payments to the bankruptcy attorney as per the prescribed repayment plan for 3-5 years. After payment to creditors like income tax agencies and IRS, etc. the remaining unsecured debts are discharged post the repayment plan.
Thus, filing for income tax is extremely important as per Dallas bankruptcy lawyers Recovery Law Group . As per U.S. Bankruptcy Code, before the commencement of bankruptcy case, the debtor’s recent tax returns are required. In fact, the returns for the past 4 years can also be required. The timing for filing bankruptcy needs to be perfect if you wish to make things easier for you.
However, there are certain tax mistakes you should steer clear of if you are considering filing for bankruptcy.
- Take care of any refund
Refund on taxes that you have received prior to filing for bankruptcy, might be seized by the government. In case you might be on the verge of getting a refund, protecting it through bankruptcy is the best option. Certain expenses like spousal or child payments, health care, etc. are essential debts and can be taken care of by the refund you have received. Consulting with an attorney can clear things up.
- Transferring your money to protect it is a no-no
Under federal law, non-disclosing of monetary assets during bankruptcy is a violation and is considered perjury. If you are looking to avoid prison, don’t try to hide property in someone else’s name. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you with ways to protect your saved money during bankruptcy, without breaking any laws. Disclosing your assets to your attorney can easily help save them legally.
Unlike popular perception that property not under your name cannot be touched by the court, bankruptcy has a weird way of handling things. Any assets transferred to family or friends prior to bankruptcy filing are seen as ways to protect them. This often causes the court to take harsh steps which include voiding the transfer to have the property back in your name or worse, dismissing of your bankruptcy case. In the case of latter happening, you will be required to refile the case which will result in additional fees and letting go of the automatic stay benefit.
- Delay paying back relatives
During bad times, family and friends are often there to lend a helping hand. Often people feel obliged to repay them as soon as possible. However, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, paying your relatives back might not be the brightest idea. Any payment made from tax refund will appear as one favoring a particular creditor over others. This may result in the bankruptcy trustee taking back the payment made to the relatives. If you wish to make any such payments, consult a bankruptcy attorney before going ahead with it.
Family and friends are considered “insiders” and any payments made to them 1 year prior to filing for bankruptcy are considered preferential. An amount larger than $600 made to any relative within 1 year prior of bankruptcy filing will become a part of your bankruptcy estate. Any payment made to any creditor of over $600 in the preferential transfer period (1 year for family and relatives and 90 days for non-family creditors) needs to be disclosed.
- Do not make payments above $600 to unsecured creditors
Any payments made within 90 days prior to bankruptcy filing need to be disclosed, especially if they are above $600. The bankruptcy trustee is bound to go through the records to see what payments were made. In case you wish to pay off some debts, prioritization is extremely important. Secured debts like mortgage payments or car payments, etc. should be your priority. Most unsecured debts like credit card and medical debts, etc. are discharged after bankruptcy. It should, therefore, be kept in mind that you shouldn’t pay off secured debts through unsecured debts like a credit card. Before making payments to any creditor, discuss with your attorney to understand the ramifications of your actions.
- Avoid buying luxury goods
Since your spending habits will be studied extensively by the bankruptcy trustee, it makes sense to avoid overspending on unnecessary items like luxury goods, etc. when you are considering bankruptcy as a way out of the financial mess. These purchases and foreign holidays are things which will work against you during the bankruptcy process.
Holding on to tax refunds during bankruptcy is the best option. Having an experienced bankruptcy attorney by your side can work wonders for you. You can use the tax refund to pay the bankruptcy fees so that you get some respite from adverse creditor actions.