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You still have to file taxes following Chapter 7 bankruptcy

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy changes a lot about your finances, but it doesn't change the fact that you have to file a tax return every year. In fact, if you are currently involved in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy relationship, both you and your trustee will file tax-related documents.

Bankruptcy works in some ways as if you were incapacitated. The assets and debts involved in the bankruptcy are now handled by another person -- the trustee. Because of this, the trustee is required to file tax paperwork regarding the bankruptcy. This paperwork for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as the Form 1041. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you filed, there might be different forms and requirements from the IRS.

The filing of a Form 1041 doesn't negate your own responsibility to file a Form 1040 or any forms related to a business you might own. You likely still have some sort of income from a job or other means, and you still have to pay taxes on that income and report it. Failure to do so could result in serious debt to the IRS along with penalties and interest that can make it difficult for you to create a clean financial slate with your bankruptcy.

Taxes are just one aspect of post-bankruptcy finances that can be complex. Understanding your debt and income and how that relates to your reporting and bankruptcy obligations is important. Bankruptcy is a great tool for many people who need to reset their financial life, but it only works well when you are prepared to follow the rules and do your part in the process.

Source: Intuit, "Filing Taxes After Filing for Bankruptcy," accessed Nov. 13, 2015

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