What Debts Cannot Be Discharged In Bankruptcy.

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Student Loans

Student loans can actually be discharged, but doing so is very rare and requires specific circumstances that are difficult at best. In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act eliminated the discharge of all private and government backed student loans. Any debt incurred for obligation to repay loans received as an educational benefit is a qualified education loan under Title 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Under very limited circumstances student loans could be discharged by filing an adversary proceeding, however discharge of student loans is rare.


Income Taxes

Taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service and your state are typically not discharged in bankruptcy. Income taxes might be discharged if they are three years old, filed on time, assessed 240 days prior to the case being filed , there has been no fraud or willful evasion, and returns were filed at least two years prior to the case being filed.


Domestic Child Support Obligations

Child support obligations cannot be discharged - ever.


Debts Incurred to Pay Nondischargeable Taxes

As part of the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act any debt incurred to pay a nondischargeable tax debt is not discharged. So if you use a credit card or loan to pay taxes, that debt is not dischargeable.


Personal Injury Damages Caused While Intoxicated

Any damages for bodily injury or death stemming from a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) cannot be discharged. If you caused a car accident (or from a boat or airplane) and you were intoxicated at the time, any damages or claims for bodily injury are not dischargeable. Debts resulting from damage to property caused while you are intoxicated can be discharged


Any Money, Property, Services, Credit or Renewal of Credit Obtained by Fraud

If you received money, property, services, credit, renewal of credit or refinancing of credit because you made a false pretense, false representation or actual fraud, debts for judgments brought against you is not dischargeable, nor is the underlying debt.


Luxury Items Purchased Within 90 Days of Filing Bankruptcy

If you owe $500 or more to a single creditor for the purchase of $500 or more of what is considered luxury goods or services within 90 days before the bankruptcy case was filed, the debt is not dischargeable. This includes using credit cards for the purchase of these luxury goods.


Certain Cash Advances -

Cash advances that total more than $750 obtained within 70 days before the bankruptcy case was filed are not dischargeable.


Post-Petition HOA Dues

If you own a home in an association and are behind on the monthly dues prior to the bankruptcy case being filed, all of the missed payments before the case is filed are dischargeable. However, once the case is filed the dues that come due each month are not dischargeable. If you plan on surrendering your home and are not making the normal mortgage payment you will still be responsible for the post-petition HOA dues as long as the house is still in your name.



Restitution is a legal remedy that disgorges a benefit that was wrongfully received. The benefit does not require any actual wrong-doing, only that a benefit was obtained that shouldn't have been obtained. Any federal court ordered restitution cannot be discharged. A state ordered restitution can be discharged but an adversary proceeding must be filed.

Additional Resources

Johnson Legal Group

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