"Ain't America great?"  Instead of just filing normal tax returns, this taxpayer filed Indian "treaty-based position disclosure documents" (described by the Tax Court as "disclosure documents").

According to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court opinion, the Plaintiff Green claimed authority to file these disclosure documents pursuant to Section 6114 of the Internal Revenue Code. Plaintiff Green claimed in Tax Court that due to his status as a member of the Potawaomi Citizens Tribe of Oklahoma, his treaty-based "disclosure documents" constituted "tax returns" that triggered the running of the statute of limitations.

Well, the Bankruptcy Court ruled against him. And since there had been no tax returns that were filed, the taxes were not dischargeable. The Court said: "Therefore, Plaintiff's MSJ (motion for summary judgment) must be denied and Defendant IRS is entitled to summary judgment as the Taxes are excepted from discharge under §523(a)(1)(B)(i), or alternatively, §523(a)(1)(B)(ii) of the Bankruptcy Code."

In short, if you expect to discharge your taxes in bankruptcy, you must have filed your tax returns. You cannot "hide behind a log" and then expect your taxes to be dischargeable. There are a couple of very narrow exceptions as described in the opinion, but for most people, timely filing your tax returns is the way to go.

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