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

Mr. Black has been “spanking” several creditors in recent weeks for privacy violations against clients. And creditors hate to be taken to court and have to pay money! New Bankruptcy Rule 9037 and other federal laws, require creditors to “redact” or mark out Social Security numbers and other “personal identification” information from such things as “Proof of Claim” forms that are filed with the bankruptcy court. Some of the creditors either didn’t learn of the new rule, or they just don’t care whether or not their customers are possibly subject to ID Theft. Bankruptcy court records are public records, and if an ID thief can obtain things like your Social Security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, etc., they can steal your identity, and not only open up credit accounts, but cause other, more serious mischief. Like working under your Social Security number, and not having taxes taken out! Then you have serious I.R.S. problems. Having your identity stolen is a nightmare. The court actions already seem to be stopping it. Mr. Black has filed over 15 “motions to seal” the court records, and has obtained court orders ordering the creditors to pay all the attorney fees for doing so. And they really hate that!

Measure wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.


Mr. Black Gives Seminar At Big Accounting Firm

J. Thomas Black gave a presentation entitled “Discharging and Reorganizing I.R.S. Taxes Through Bankruptcy” in May at the largest independent accounting firm in Houston, Gainer, Donnelly & Desroches. Mr. Black conducted one of their “Lunch and Learn” continuing education events.

Many people, including many accountants, are not aware that income taxes can be discharged or canceled in bankruptcy, in some circumstances. Generally speaking, so long as the taxes are more than 3 years old, the tax returns on which they are based were filed more than 2 years before filing bankruptcy, and the taxes were “assessed” or determined to be due by the IRS, at least 240 days (about 8 months) before filing bankruptcy, then they can be discharged or forgiven through bankruptcy, so long as the taxpayer did not file a false or fraudulent tax return, and did not “willfully attempt to evade or defeat the tax.”

If you owe the IRS for past due or delinquent taxes, and live in the Houston, Texas area, call 713-772-8037 and make an appointment to meet with Mr. Black. There is no charge for the first visit. If you have significant delinquent IRS debt, with your permission Mr. Black will obtain your IRS records, to be sure what taxes may be discharged or canceled, if any. Mr. Black will also explain all your available options to you, including his “6 Ways To Deal With Delinquent I.R.S. Debt.”

Why debt is so hard to get out of Americans are mired in debt. According to the Federal Reserve, consumers had racked up $943.5 billion in revolving credit by the end of 2007. What’s the big deal? Run that debt up so high that you can make only minimum payments and you’ll find yourself in a situation you can’t get out of. For example, if you have $17,000 of unsecured debt, according to, the first $400 you send in each month won’t begin to reduce the $17,000; it’s just taking care of interest and penalties. What’s more, if you miss a payment, you might get hit with a “universal default” clause included in your credit card agreement—which gives your credit card issuers the right to raise your rates in any way they see fit at any time. This can cause your interest rates to soar and, in some cases, can double your monthly payments. Penalty rates can run from 19 percent to 24 percent; folks with bad credit can be charged 29 percent and higher.

SAVE $$$$$

“Shop” your electricity. Go to my website a click on “Links” and then “Save $$$$.” One of the web sites listed is the Texas Electric Choice program, where you can enter your zip code and see the prices of all the electricity providers in your area. Pick a low rate, arrange the switch to the new company, and you are all set to lower your light bill!

J. Thomas Black acquired advanced legal training in May at the16th Annual Convention of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) in Hollywood, California. Mr. Black spent a day or two seeing the sights and then three days in training sessions on advanced bankruptcy and tax subjects and meetings. Mr. Black is the Texas State Chairman of NACBA for the Southern District of Texas.

Do you have debt or credit problems? Are bill collectors threatening to take your home or garnish your wages? Are they threatening to do anything else that they are not allowed to by law? Is your mortgage company charging you fees and costs that are not due? Does your credit report have inaccurate items that the credit bureau refuses to fix? Are you just overwhelmed with debt? Call my office for your free consultation with me. Call 713-772-8037 and make an appointment to meet with me. Bring all the documents about your claim or situation.


Eighty-six percent of Americans say they have been very (57 percent) or somewhat (29 percent) negatively affected by the rise in gasoline and home heating prices.

— Gallup Poll

I.R.S. News – Where is my Stimulus Payment? WASHINGTON — Stimulus Payments are being issued on a schedule according to the last 2 digits of the primary social security number (SSN) shown on your 2007 tax return.

Taxpayers can use the “Where’s My Stimulus Payment?” feature on the Web site to learn the status of their stimulus payments. To use it, a taxpayer must enter a Social Security number, filing status (such as single or married filing jointly) and the total number of exemptions as shown on your 2007 tax return. A taxpayer can also ensure the IRS has his or her correct address by filing Form 8822, Change of Address. Download the form from or request it by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).


“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up . . . discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt


Always keep the law office updated with your current address, telephone numbers, and email address. We may need to reach you quickly. If you want to review the status of your case with Mr. Black, call the office and make an appointment to meet with him, or call him at 713-772-8037. You can also email him at [email protected]

24 hours/7 days a week, you can check on the status of your Trustee payments, how much you still owe on your case, etc., by going to to set up your user ID and password.■