Category: Bankruptcy

bankruptcy attorneys

Why do Bankruptcy Attorneys ask so many questions?

Why do Bankruptcy Attorneys ask so many questions? Two words: due diligence. All attorneys have a duty under the Florida Bar to be candid with the court when making disclosures and presenting a client’s case. Bankruptcy Attorneys have an even higher burden.

As Bankruptcy Attorneys, we are responsible for helping you in the bankruptcy process and also ensuring the bankruptcy schedules are accurate and correct. Bankruptcy is about disclosure. A debtor provides the required information and cooperates in exchange for a discharge of the debtor’s debts. Failure to make the disclosures or do the work necessary to get the information together can result in dire consequences for the client/debtor and for the attorney.

Bankruptcy Code section 11 U.S.C. 526(a)(2) requires Bankruptcy Attorneys as a debt relief agency to certify the bankruptcy paperwork by the client. By signing the bankruptcy paperwork, the Bankruptcy Attorney is certifying that he or she has done a reasonable investigation into the numbers and information in the bankruptcy schedules.

If a reasonable inquiry is not done by the debtor’s Bankruptcy Attorneys, then the attorneys themselves can be sanctioned by the court.

This doesn’t mean amendments to the petition and schedules are not common place, it just means that the process needs to be taken seriously and the questions that Bankruptcy Attorneys ask are important! It may seems like we are being nosy, but we are really trying to protect you, give you good advice, and protect ourselves.

Call us today for your free consultation (305) 278-0811, but be prepared for some questions!

 

Tax Debt

Can I Discharge my Income Tax Debt?

Clients with income tax debt often come in for consultations feeling like there is no hope. Their tax debt could be based on 1099’s, penalties on past due tax debt, or a result of a business closing. Many people think you cannot discharge a taxes in bankruptcy because it is a debt owed to s government entity, but the bankruptcy code maps out the requirements for when taxes can be discharged.

If the taxes are not considered priority, then the tax debt can be discharged. For the tax debt to not be considered priority under bankruptcy code section 507(a)(8)(A), the below requirements must be met:

  1. The tax return was last due without penalty more than three years ago;
  2. The return was filed more than two years ago;
  3. The tax was assessed more than eight months ago; and
  4. You did not willfully attempt to evade or defeat the tax.  A recent opinion even held that the failure to file tax returns for years on end showed debtor did not try in good faith to comply with the tax laws and held the taxes non-dischargeable in bankruptcy even though conditions one through three, above, were met!

The most important thing is the returns MUST be filed. Often clients come in with tax debt and the client was too afraid to file the return knowing that tax debt would arise. Without a timely return, we cannot help, so the moral of the story: file your taxes even if you cannot pay them!

If you have tax obligations that you cannot pay, contact our office for analysis of how much of your taxes you have to pay and how much of it you can discharge in bankruptcy. The consultation is free. Contact us today to gain knowledge and information on how to gain back control of your financial life (305) 278-0811.

bankruptcy attorney

Tips for Finding the Right Bankruptcy Attorney

Finding any bankruptcy attorney is easy, but find the right Bankruptcy Attorney can be challenging with so many attorneys and so much information available. Making the decision to explore bankruptcy is a big step. Before filing bankruptcy, one should research what bankruptcy attorney to use just as much as how bankruptcy works. Some believe that the attorney that files the bankruptcy is not important, but this is incorrect.

Bankruptcy can dramatically improve a person’s financial situation, but a bankruptcy done incorrectly can result in a bankruptcy client losing his or her home or possibly a lot more. There is so much on the line that the choice is an important one.

Questions when looking for the right bankruptcy attorney:

  1. Experience: Does the attorney have experience in bankruptcy? What is the attorney’s primary practice? How long has the attorney been practicing bankruptcy? Does the attorney file both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies?
  2. Client Feedback: Do past clients have good things to say about the attorney?
  3. Opinions of other attorneys: Do attorneys that have worked with the attorney have good things to say about the attorney? Does an attorney you know trust the attorney?
  4. Explanations about Bankruptcy: Did the bankruptcy attorney try to explain the bankruptcy process in a way you can understand? Did you walk away from the consultation knowing more about bankruptcy and feel more comfortable with your decision?
  5. Answers your Questions: During the consultation, did the attorney answer all your questions?

James Schwitalla has more than 22 years of experience in bankruptcy. Our office specializes in helping individuals, families, and business owners file bankruptcy to help them with their debt problems and to get a fresh financial start. We do not advertise or have flashy advertising. Our clients and attorneys we work with are our best referral sources. During a consultation with one of our attorneys, Mr. Schwitalla and Ms. Roberts, all your questions will be answered and the attorney will educate you about bankruptcy and how it can work for you.

Call (305) 278-0811 or send us an e-mail to learn more about how we can help you.