Taxes & Student Loans

Taxes — Can Bankruptcy Eliminate Them?

Discharging taxes is very complex and you should consult an attorney to determine if your taxes are dischargeable. In order for us to render an opinion on tax dischargeability, we will need the following:

  • Nature of the tax (i.e., for what reason it was assessed-income taxes, unemployment taxes, etc)
  • Breakdown of balance owed for EACH tax year (do not group tax years together because DATES are extremely important in determining dischargeability of taxes)
  • Date each return was filed for each tax year
  • Date assessed by the IRS or other taxing authority for EACH tax year
  • Information on whether you were later audited and results of said audit

We may request other information in analyzing dischargeability. Remember, our advice is based on the accuracy of the information you provide. If you are mistaken as to information you give us, the debt may not be discharged even if we thought it might be based on what you had previously told us. The information you provide will aid us in determining if you would be better suited for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

Student Loans — Can Bankruptcy Eliminate Them?

The law on dischargeability of student loans was changed in October of 1998. Student loans are now only dischargeable based on a showing of “undue hardship.” Generally, proving hardship often requires proving to the Court that you cannot maintain a minimal standard of living if you have to repay the loan, that your financial situation is likely to persist, and some courts require a showing of a good faith attempt at repayment. This requires a case-by-case analysis, and thus, an attorney can explain your options and the procedure for handling student loans during your consultation.

The case law varies depending on the jurisdiction so you should consult an attorney in your area to determine if you may qualify for an undue hardship discharge. However, there are no “bright line” rules on discharging student loans, and ultimately, the decision is up to the Court.

To aid us in determining the likelihood of proving undue hardship, you should come to your appointment with a very detailed monthly budget (be sure to include all expenses even if they occur only sporadically-we will average them to determine the monthly amount), several paystubs so we may average your income, and last year’s W-2 form.

David S. Osterman 603-626-5452