When I consult with clients concerning their IRS tax problems her in Houston, we always consider the non-bankruptcy options also. If there is no other over-riding reason to file a bankruptcy, non-bankruptcy options can be best.

I first review with the taxpayer all the details about the taxpayer's situation including assets, debts, income, expenses, and any changes in their circumstances that are likely to happen in the near future. Then we consider all their options in dealing with their IRS debt, including possible short term extension to pay, Innocent Spouse (if applicable), Installment Agreement, and Offer in Compromise.

Frankly, some of my clients are in "currently not collectible" status, and so long as the IRS will not be attempting collection anytime soon, it is often best to let "sleeping dogs lie" and let the 10-year statute of limitations run against the IRS. But some of my clients have to file bankruptcy anyway, to stop a pending foreclosure, repossession, wage levy, or for other reasons.

One very important advantage of filing bankruptcy is the "automatic stay" or federal court order that goes into effect upon the filing of a bankruptcy. But that has to be weighed carefully against the disadvantages. If you are considering bankruptcy to solve your IRS tax problems, by all means consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, and one that has worked for many years in dealing with IRS problems in bankruptcy.

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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