Can I File Bankruptcy on Taxes? Income Tax Debt Solutions

Can I File Bankruptcy on Taxes? Income Tax Debt Solutions

When faced with mounting income tax debt, navigating the available financial solutions can be a daunting task. This article will explore whether bankruptcy is a viable option for tax debt relief, along with other alternatives to consider.

Understanding Tax Debt in the Context of Bankruptcy

In Canada, income tax debt is regarded similarly to other types of unsecured debt like credit cards or personal lines of credit. This means, under certain circumstances, you can declare bankruptcy to handle taxes owing. However, bankruptcy should always be considered as a last resort for debt management and it’s crucial to explore all available options first.

Analyzing Your Debt

Before you can determine the best course of action to handle your income tax debt, you must first understand the total amount you owe. This involves completing and filing all outstanding tax returns. Once you have a clear idea of your financial obligation, you can then explore the following options for repaying your income tax debt.

Option 1: Tax Relief

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a tax relief option for individuals who cannot meet their tax obligations due to uncontrollable circumstances. These could be natural disasters, severe illnesses, or financial hardships. However, qualifying for this relief only waives or cancels penalties or interest — the principal amount still needs to be paid.

Option 2: Consumer Proposal

If negotiating a less than full payment of your income tax debt seems feasible, a consumer proposal could be an appropriate choice. A consumer proposal is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors, overseen by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. This arrangement allows you to negotiate fixed monthly payments or lump sum settlements over a set period, typically up to five years. Once you fulfill the terms of the consumer proposal, you will be released from all unsecured debts owed at the time of filing.

Option 3: Bankruptcy

If your tax debt is substantial and other options have failed or are not suitable, filing for bankruptcy might be the appropriate choice. The process begins with meeting a Licensed Insolvency Trustee and completing the necessary paperwork. Following the registration of your bankruptcy with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, the bankruptcy duties begin. Typically, a first-time bankruptcy lasts between 9 to 21 months. Upon completion, all tax debts will be cleared.

Choosing the Best Path Forward

When struggling with income tax debt, understanding your options is crucial. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee can provide impartial advice and hands-on guidance to help you choose the best course of action.

Remember, every situation is unique and the best solution for you may not be the same as for someone else. Start by seeking a free confidential consultation with a debt advisor.

Find Your Personal Debt Relief Solution

Licensed Insolvency Trustees are here to help. Get a free assessment of your options.

Discuss options to get out of debt with a trained & licensed debt relief professional.