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I owe lots of money. Will filing for bankruptcy help me?

Hayward, CA |

I owe lots of money, $5,000. to the IRS. I had a company back in 2007, and filed taxes. I can't pay them now, I'm broke. I owe about $400,000. as a result of being the loser of a civil suit. My company was sued back in 2007 for trademark infringement. I lost by default. I owe $92,000 more to the Government. I had a Federal conviction back in 1999, and as a result I had a restitution of $92,000. My lawyer had it changed to a civil debt and nothing criminal.

I am currently involved in a personal injury case and stand to be awarded a mere $70,000 to $150,000. Will filing bankrupt stop my debtors from being able to put a lien on my winnings, making them able to get my money from my Attorney before I get it? Is there any way I can file bankruptcy and not have my credit ruined

Attorney Answers 5

  1. The short answer is yes, a bankruptcy should be able to help you eliminate some of your debt. It would appear that you need a Chapter 7 bankruptcy as you are over the debt limit for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Which of the debts you listed could be discharged isn't a question that can be answered without further information. It is probable that all or some of your personal injury funds will go to the Chapter 7 trustee to pay some of your debts. As to the question about can you file bankruptcy and not have your credit ruined . . . Really? Based on the debts you posted about, I would imagine your credit is already ruined. You should see a Bankruptcy Attorney to get a better and more in depth analysis of what debts can be discharged in a bankruptcy. Good luck.

  2. You should certainly contact an attorney for a consultation. The vast majority of bankruptcy attorneys will provide you with a free consultation. You have a lot going on and it will definitely be worth your time.

    Taxes are generally not dischargeable; however, your taxes may actually be dischargeable. Here are the rules for you to look over.

    (1) The due date for filing the tax return is at least three years before the Bankruptcy filing; (11. U.S.C. §§ 523(a) and 507(a)(8)(A)(i))
    (2) The tax return was filed at least two years before the Bankruptcy filing; (11. U.S.C. §523(a)(1)(B))
    (3) The tax liability was assessed more than 240 days before the Bankruptcy filing; (11. U.S.C. §§523(a)(1)(A) and 507(a)(8)(A)(ii))
    (4) The tax return was not fraudulent; and, (11. U.S.C. §§507(a)(8)(A)(iii) and 523(a)(1)(C))
    (5) The taxpayer is not guilty of tax evasion. In other words, the tax return was actually filed. (11. U.S.C. §§507(a)(8)(A)(iii) and 523(a)(1)(C))

    Was the civil suit for trademark or for something else? For example, if it was an intentional tort, you're not going to be able to discharge that in bankruptcy. What is the $92,000 owed to the government? We would need a lot more information to be able to properly advise you on what is dischargeable, what is not, and what you could gain or lose from filing bankruptcy. Based on your debts, it is likely that your credit score will not be detrimentally ruined compared to attempting to pay all of this debt back through possible negative amortization.

    If you're the plaintiff to the personal injury award, you may not able to protect everything you are awarded. That will depend on your other assets and a number of other factors.

    I would again highly recommend talking to an attorney in your area. Bring copies of all of your debts so they can provide you with a proper consultation. Good Luck.

    Disclaimer of California Attorney. Laws differ from state to state. Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract. Trevor E. Carson, Attorney-At-Law 2377 Gold Meadow Way, Suite 220 Gold River, CA 95670 Office (916) 241-3336

  3. You need to talk to a bankruptcy attorney that advertises for bankruptcy work in Chapters 7, 11, and 13. You may not be eligible for a 13 (But that needs to be checked carefully) and Chapter 11 is probably not feasible for you (But maybe not). So you really need an all around bankruptcy attorney to help you evaluate your options. The situation is far from hopeless. So, go see a pro. Many times there is no fee for the initial consultation.

    Don't forget to click on the "Best Answer" button, if you appreciate this wit and wisdom. This answer is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and may not be relied upon as legal advice. A careful examination of the facts is necessary before a legal answer may be relied on. You should consult your own attorney before taking or refraining from any legal action.

  4. Based on the facts you have chosen to disclose, it is not at all clear how beneficial a bankruptcy will be for you. A couple of things, however, are very clear: your PI settlement would be exposed to surrender in a bankruptcy to the extent it cannot be exempted, and nothing short of a full case review by n experienced bankruptcy attorney will provide the precise advice you need.

    Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best anwer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

  5. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy would eliminate most of your non-tax debts (and possibly those if they're old enough). The possible personal injury award would exempt (protected from the trustee and your creditors) to "the extent necessary for the support of the judgment debtor" if you used the set of California exemptions that provides that. But your situation is way too complex to handle here. You definitely should consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney in your area.

    This reply does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship.

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