Giacchi v. U.S.A.

Case Type:
Case Status:
15 - 3761 (3rd Circuit, May 05,2017) Published
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's ruling that the Debtor's late filed tax documents did not constitute returns under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)(B). Adopting the ruling of Beard v. Comm’r, 82 T.C. 766, 777 (T.C. 1984), aff’d, 793 F.2d 139 (6th Cir. 1986), the Court of Appeals held that for a document to be a return, it must "represent an honest and reasonable attempt to satisfy the requirements of the tax law." The Court further stated that forms filed after their due date and after an IRS assessment will "rarely, if ever, qualify" as returns under § 523,
Procedural context:
Debtor filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in 2010 and a Chapter 13 petition in 2012. As part of the 2012 bankruptcy case, Debtor brought an adversary proceeding against the federal government seeking a judgment that his tax liabilities for 2000, 2001, and 2002 had been discharged in the 2010 Chapter 7 case. The Bankruptcy Court ruled that the tax liabilities were non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)(B), holding that the late filed Form 1040s were not "returns" for purposes of the statute. The District Court affirmed on appeal, and Debtor filed an appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Debtor had not timely filed Forms 1040 for 2000, 2001, and 2002. In 2004, the IRS assessed a tax liability against Debtor for 2000 and 2001. One month later, Debtor filed Forms 1040 for 2000 and 2001. In 2005, the IRS assessed a tax liability for 2002, and Debtor submitted a Form 1040 for 2002 in 2006.

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