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Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy question - My husband and I filed married but separate tax returns in 2011, then filed jointly for

Quincy, MA |

2012. Will he need to submit his separate tax returns for 2011 for my bankruptcy filing? I know we will have to submit 2012 tax returns because we are both on it. I am filing an individual chapter 7. He will not be filing with me.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. You are required to submit 4 years of your tax returns whether you filed single or joint. Assuming you are together the Means Test, the income and budge schedules must include all incomes in the household.


  2. Whether your spouse will need to provide the bankruptcy trustee with a copy of his tax return is a discretionary decision for the trustee to make. hope this perspective helps!


  3. First, only in Chapter 13,not Ch 7 are you required to have filed the prior 4 years of tax returns assuming you had duty to file them. You have already done that. So next, you only have the duty to send to the trustee the last required and filed tax return which today is your 2012 return. By the time you file, it may be your 2013 return! However, if the trustee asks for any documents, then you have the duty to provide them such as your husbands separate 2011 tax return. The trustee only receives $60 in most cases out of your filing fee and does not have a lot of time to spend on your case..so in most cases I don't see how that will even come up! But if filing, there is nothing you can do about it now anyway. On when to file, you might want to speak to any attorney to see if any advantage of waiting and the effects of your 2013 possible tax refund..but only days left this year to obtain such advice..as should you file NOW or wait till Jan 1? That is the issue you should be asking also. Your normally have only two real goals: can you keep all your equity in property and can you discharge all your debts (are there any debts that are NOT discharged). Good luck.


  4. The Bankruptcy Code requires that you provide to the trustee the federal tax return "for the most recent tax year ending immediately before" you file your petition - in your case (if you file before next Wednesday), that would be your 2012 joint return.

    That said, some trustees may ask for tax returns for other years, and you may have to provide filed tax returns for other years to the IRS or the MA Department of Revenue to verify that you did file those returns. If this is the case, your bankruptcy attorney can address those requests with you.

    Per the Mass Bankruptcy Court local rules, you will also have to provide to the trustee your pay stubs for the 8 weeks prior to your petition date (with all but the last four digits of your social security number redacted). If I do a filing like yours (debtor but not debtor's spouse), I provide the spouse's pay stubs for that period as well. You have to provide the tax return and the pay stubs to the trustee at least one week before your meeting of creditors (or you may have that meeting continued).

    Nothing contained in this answer constitutes specific or complete legal advice to the questioner and is for general informational purposes only. My response is based only on the facts presented, and may change based on additional facts or different information about your situation. In other words, you are only getting the tip of the iceberg – consult with a lawyer if you think what you read here might apply to you and your situation. I am an attorney licensed to practice only in Massachusetts state and federal courts. To the extent that I am responding to a question posed by an individual in a different state, my response is given as a general opinion based only on my experience and knowledge acquired in the state and area in which I practice, and the questioner is ALWAYS advised to consult a local attorney for a more specific and definitive answer to the question posed.


  5. Your attorney may request his 2011 return so he can complete the paperwork on the statement of financial affairs. The bankruptcy Code does not mandate that you submit the 2011 returns, however your trustee has leeway to request it.


  6. In Ch 7 you are required to submit the most recent tax return you were required to file. In Ch 13 the requirement is to submit the returns for the last 4 years. In my district the 13 Trustee has asked that we only submit the most recent year and if he wants the other years he will request those later. So you should consult with a local bankruptcy attorney to find out what your trustees want you to do in your district.

    This is not legal advice and I am not your attorney until you retain my office. Always consult with an attorney in your area before acting on anything you read on the internet.

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