Bankruptcy and Timely Filing Income Tax Returns

Bankruptcy and Timely Filing Income Tax Returns

Consequence in Bankruptcy for Not Timely Filing Tax Returns

We fear the Internal Revenue Service because of their power over our lives.  Therefore, clients come to our office that have failed to file an income tax return for certain tax years.  Significant consequences can arise from not filing or late filing a tax return.

What to expect if contemplating bankruptcy and you have unfiled tax returns?

Courts have concluded that failing to file a timely return, by the due date or pursuant to an extension, can result in the following:

  1. IRS can treat the late filed return as no return at all;
  2. IRS can prepare what is known as a “substituted return; and
  3. Taxes that might otherwise have been dischargeable in bankruptcy potentially become non-dischargeable.

Nothing good comes from failing to file an income tax return in a timely manner.  I often find that bankruptcy clients have failed to file a return because they owe taxes that they cannot pay. Or, the Department of the Treasury is garnishing tax refunds that are due to the taxpayer.  File your tax returns in a timely manner, no matter the consequences.  File the tax return even if you are not paying the tax liability that is due.

So, the passage of time benefits taxpayers.  If enough time passes, tax liability may be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the tax liability may be a general unsecured claim.  This results in the IRS having no priority over a credit card company.

You can determine if there are unfiled tax returns by going to and clicking on “Get Your Tax Record.” Once you have established an online account you can obtain “Record of Account Transcripts.”  Our firm is now an authorized paid tax preparer with the Internal Revenue Service, so please let us know if you have any questions regarding the preparation of overdue returns.











































Reasons Why Chapter13 Is Often The Best Choice

Reasons Why Chapter13 Is Often The Best Choice


Even though Chapter 7 bankruptcy can have many benefits for the Debtor who qualifies and has mainly unsecured debt they are seeking relief from, Chapter 13 bankruptcy has many advantages over Chapter 7.  Chapter 13 has the following advantages:

  • If a Debtor is behind on mortgage payments and wants to save their home from foreclosure, Chapter 7 can prevent a foreclosure, but only for a temporary time.  Chapter 13 allows for the restructuring of the arrearages to be paid over time.
  • An unsecured mortgage lien can be stripped off in a situation where the Debtor is underwater on their mortgage.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a Debtor to keep their options open.  The Debtor can most of the time dismiss and refile, can voluntarily dismiss the Chapter 13 or can convert to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Mortgage holders are generally willing to work with a Chapter 13 Debtor related to loan modifications.
  • For a short period of time a Debtor can get a vehicle back after repossession.
  • If a motor vehicle was financed more than 910 days prior to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the creditor can be paid the value of the vehicle instead of what is owed on the vehicle.  Additionally, Debtors who have a clear title to a vehicle and then borrow against that vehicle can pay the lender the value instead of what is owed.
  • Debtors can avoid the Reaffirmation Agreement process in Chapter 13  and avoid the risks associated with reaffirming the contract on a vehicle.
  • Debtors do not surrender non-exempt property in a Chapter 13.
  • Debtors maintain control over the disposition of non-exempt assets in Chapter 13 and can benefit from creditors not filing a claim in their Chapter 13.
  • Ability to deal with tax problems in Chapter 13.
  • Flexibility in the payment of attorney’s fees.

This is in no way an exhaustive list of the advantages of Chapter13, but it is some of the more common advantages. Please give me a call at (800) 867-1583 if you are considering filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and we can talk about your specific situation.

As always, any opinions expressed on this website are just that, opinions. Your individual situation might be different than outlined above, so it is probably best that you give me a call to discuss your individual situation. I pride myself on giving you the answers to your questions that are based on your individual circumstances.

I Have Been Sued By a Credit Card Company. Now What?

I Have Been Sued By a Credit Card Company. Now What?


If you have been sued by a credit card company or a junk debt buyer, you can count yourself among the thousands of individuals that are sued on a daily basis throughout the country. So, you have been served with suit papers, what do you do now?  You do not want to do what the typical person does, which is to ignore the suit!

Credit card companies and junk debt buyers are counting on you to be the typical person and not file an answer to their lawsuit.  This is what a majority of people do when served with a collection lawsuit.  If an answer is not timely filed to the lawsuit, a default judgment will be entered by the court.  You do not want a default judgment to be entered against you.  More on that subject in a minute.  If you are located in the East Texas area and you get served with a collection lawsuit, you need to pick up the phone without delay and give me a call.  Bankruptcy might be the solution, but if not, the alternative is not to ignore the lawsuit.

I am repeatedly contacted by people who have been sued in the past and a default judgment has been entered against them.  At times these default judgments are for substantial sums of money and the judgment creditor has garnished a bank account, attempted to execute on the judgment or served the judgment debtor with written discovery to ascertain assets owned.  Often the person is calling me because they are attempting to sell a piece of real estate and the judgment has been discovered by the title examiner (judgment liens are created by the judgment creditor filing an abstract of judgment in the county in which the debtor owns real estate).  Just in the last year I have represented several people who are trying to recover from a default judgment that has been taken against them.

If you have been sued, don’t let this be you.  Call me at 800-867-1583 and we can discuss what options are best for you!

What Should You Expect At A Creditor’s Meeting

What Should You Expect At A Creditor’s Meeting


Every person who files for bankruptcy must attend what is commonly referred to as a “creditor’s meeting” or Section 341 meeting.  Because it is referred to as a “creditor’s meeting” bankruptcy clients assume that they are going to be grilled by questions from their creditors.  In actuality it is extremely rare for a creditor to appear at a creditor’s meeting and ask questions of a Debtor.

For those persons filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy they can expect that they will be asked a series of questions by us that will track very closely with this outline. In addition, since the Trustee’s role in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to identify any assets that might be non-exempt under the law, you should be prepared to respond to the Trustee with information associated with assets.  You can expect that if we have filed your bankruptcy we are going to discuss this possibility prior to your appearance at the meeting.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you should expect that a member of the Trustee’s staff to ask a series of questions that will track closely with this outline.  In addition, be prepared to discuss with the Trustee’s office those things that we have previously advised you might be a topic of discussion.

The greatest piece of advice that I can offer you is to relax and not be anxious about your appearance at the creditor’s meeting.  These meetings are very routine and you have hired a lawyer for a purpose, to help shepherd you through the process.

The Greatest Mistake Made When In Financial Crisis

The Greatest Mistake Made When In Financial Crisis


There are a number of reasons people procrastinate when they are in a financial crisis.  Many may delay taking action because they believe things are going to change. This leads to a clash of ideas. On the one hand the person is keeping a positive attitude, but at the same time they may be delaying taking needed action.  This delayed action can have tremendous consequences in certain financial situations.  I have had two recent potential clients contact me after a foreclosure sale had already been conducted.  Once a foreclosure sale has been conducted and the property is sold, then it is too late to try to solve the issue through a bankruptcy filing.

People also delay taking action because to face a difficult situation increases stress and anxiety.  In fact, psychologists believe that procrastination is a coping mechanism used to avoid the anxiety of unpleasant tasks. However, procrastination can lead to guilt and increased stress when the crisis is not faced without delay.

Abraham Lincoln said “you cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”  Evading a financial crisis today generally means that you are delaying a solution and you may make the situation worse.

When people are facing a financial crisis, such as a foreclosure on their home, they most likely procrastinate more because of a fear of the unknown.  If you are facing a financial crisis then reach out to a professional and get some wisdom to solve your problems.  I can promise that if you make contact with me you will not be condemned, and I will do everything I can to put you at ease and we will work toward getting you on the right financial track going forward.  You can reach me at 800-867-1583.

As always, any opinions expressed on this website are just that, opinions. Your individual situation might be different than outlined above, so it is probably best that you give me a call to discuss your individual situation. I pride myself on giving you the answers to your questions that are based on your individual circumstances.

I Have Been Sued By a Credit Card Company. Now What?

Financial Roundtable – KTBB AM 600 & 97.5 FM

with-randy-stevenson-at-financial-roundtable-092416I appeared as a guest today on the Financial Roundtable today, which is broadcast every Saturday and Sunday from 12-1pm on KTBB AM 700 and FM 97.5 in Tyler, and can be heard on the web at

The Host, Randy Stevenson, asked whether I have seen more elderly clients in my practice filing for bankruptcy protection. I have definitely seen that in my practice. The majority of those elderly clients have either helped their children or have paid medical bills and prescription costs, which has led to a slow process of accumulating more and more credit card debt. Because the overwhelming majority of these older clients are on a fixed income, they have come to a point where it is very difficult to meet their monthly living expenses and keep the credit card debt serviced.  If you find yourself in this situation and you live in the Tyler or East Texas area, then please give me a call at 800-867-1583.  I offer free consultations, so give me a call and we will try to get you on a track of financial stability.

I highly encourage you to be a regular listener to the Financial Roundtable broadcast every Saturday from 12 :00 to 1:00 p.m. on KTBB AM 600 and 97.5 FM in Tyler. You can also stream it live from It is also rebroadcast on Sunday at the same time. Randy Stevenson and his co-host, Jim White, are a wealth of knowledge that will equip you to be the best steward of the resources that God has entrusted you with.

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