Taxes[1]

In the recent case of Coyle v. United States (In re Coyle), 524 B.R. 863 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2015)(http://www.flsb.uscourts.gov) the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida (“Bankruptcy Court”) held that a debtor’s untimely Form 1040 for 2006 that was filed in 2010, after the Internal Revenue Service’s (“IRS”) assessment of her tax liability for 2006, was not an honest and good faith effort to comply with the tax laws, was not a “return”  as used in 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(1)(B).  Id. at 870.  Therefore, the debtor’s tax liability for 2006 was not dischargeable.  Id.  The Bankruptcy Court found that the test outlined in Beard v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 82 T.C. 766 (1984), aff’d, 793 F. 2d 139 (6th Cir. 1986) (“Beard”) for determination of whether a document submitted to the IRS by a taxpayer qualifies as a return should be applied with the issue being “whether, under the Beard test, a Form 1040 filed after an IRS assessment can never represent an ‘honest and reasonable attempt to satisfy the requirements of the tax law.’”  Id. at 868.  Citing Moroney v. U.S. (In re Moroney), 352 F. 3d 902, 906 (4th Cir. 2006), the Bankruptcy Court noted that “[t]he very essence of our system of taxation lies in the self-reporting and self-assessment of one’s tax liabilities”.  Id. at 869.  Accordingly, once “the IRS has completed the deficiency procedures and assessed a tax debt, it is too late for the taxpayer to satisfy his duty to report the amount already assessed and the form cannot function as a determination of the debt by the taxpayer.”  Id.