Can IRS Tax Debts be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Written By: Emil FleysherFebruary 11, 2013,

A question that often arises is whether IRS tax debt can be discharged in Bankruptcy. The answer is often surprising to the person asking the question. That answer is "Yes," under certain circumstances, certain tax debts can be discharged in bankruptcy.

In fact, income taxes, both federal and state, over 3 years old can be discharged in bankruptcy. That is if the returns have been filed by the debtor at least 2 years before the bankruptcy is filed. Furthermore, the 3 year period begins running from the due date for the return; which is the 15th of April of the following year unless an extension to file was granted. Moreover, the returns had to be filed by the debtor. In fact, if the IRS or state filed the return, then the 2 years have not yet started to run and the tax debt is not dischargeable. It is important to obtain transcripts to determine if federal taxes are dischargeable. Filing a bankruptcy even 1 day early can mean the tax won’t be discharged!

If you have questions about Ch. 7 or Ch. 13 bankruptcy, or other alternatives, please feel free to call my office at 888-886-0020, send an e-mail to, or complete the contact form below.

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