For tax liability to be dischargeable in bankruptcy, i.e. no longer considered a personal liability, at least the following three rules must be met:
Please note that if taxes are not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may provide meaningful protection to a person owing tax debt. There has been much litigation across the country in the past several years concerning discharge of tax liability in Chapter 13 cases and recent court decisions have changed the interpretation of tax claim treatment in Chapter 13 cases. The US Supreme Court was asked to hear such a case but recently declined to do so.
A successful Chapter 13 Plan can provide for repayment of secured and unsecured priority tax liability to the IRS and allow for discharge of penalties, interest on penalties, and other eligible general unsecured tax debt. In addition, priority taxes paid through a Chapter 13 Plan will not accrue additional penalties.
Liability on late-filed tax returns are very likely never dischargeable without a very good reason. However, the debt can still be managed through a Chapter 13. Where there is non-dischargeable tax liability, the accruing interest is also non-dischargeable but a Chapter 13 plan may be able to provide to pay that interest to the IRS in some circumstances.