Tax Returns and filing bankruptcy

The general rule in bankruptcy is that the most recent tax return needs to be turned into the trustee one week before the 341 hearings. Failing to do so can get your case dismissed or if you are lucky the trustee will give you a few days to do it and continue your case. If you comply with the tax return requirement then they will remove the continued date off calender and everything moves forward to you getting a discharge. That is if you file your 2nd credit counseling class along with the B23 certificate where you swear that you took the class and put the certificate number etc. These are some of the things that pro se(clients that represent themselves) forget to do and end up getting their cases dismissed. Looking up the local rules on the bankruptcy court website can help but the more prudent aproach in my opinion is to hire someone to do it for you. As a riverside county bankruptcy attorney I do this every day and make sure that everything is done correctly. Today I was in court for 3 cases and one one of them my client gave me a declaration that they were not required to file tax returns for the previous two years because they made under the 9k IRS limit which allow you to not file. I have dealt with this before with clients just making social security income or low income enough to not file. What I have typically done is just file a declaration claiming them exempt from returns. Today the trustee told me that I was in his opinion still required to mail the most recently filed return which was for 2008. I will do that tomorrow and the case will move forward smoothly. Even a seasoned practitioner can be challenged and he might be right. I find it hard to believe that the trustee would be interested in the income my client made three years ago as its irrelevant to the current bankruptcy case but if that is what he wants then I’ll be faxing that to this office tomorrow. Typically I have my clients file tax returns before we file. I might go back to that.