Why You Need a Tax Attorney for Bankruptcy
The Law Office of David M. Serafin is a Denver, Colorado based law firm specializing in bankruptcy and tax matters. An experienced Denver bankruptcy lawyer, David M. Serafin - who holds a Master’s Degree in Taxation - routinely represents debtors with a combination of unsecured debt, secured debt and tax debt. Clients wanting to protect their assets who come to us are often in a complex financial situation and have need relief from crushing personal or business related tax debt. Particularly as the weak economy has caused more people in Colorado to be in debt and as diminished tax revenues have encouraged the IRS and Colorado Department of Revenue to be more aggressive in their tax collections, the Law Office of David M. Serafin sees more clients with tax and non–tax related debt who file to obtain a fresh start.
But, because the bankruptcy process has become more complex in the past few years, an attorney with a tax background is essential to obtain the most debt relief possible for the following reasons:
- Discharge of Tax and IRS Collection issues – A tax attorney will properly analyze how much of your tax debt (if any) is dischargeable. Based upon the type and amount of tax owed, when the tax returns were filed, and when the IRS or state most recently assessed the tax (including interest and penalties), Attorney David M. Serafin will advise you as to the dischargeability of your tax debt. If appropriate, the Law Office of David M. Serafin can also structure a chapter 13 payment plan so you can pay back the non–dischargeable portion of the tax interest and penalty free (from the date of the bankruptcy filing forward). We also negotiate with the IRS or state of Colorado to lower Priority and Non–Priority tax debt, stop tax garnishments, and we can file an Offer in Compromise (requesting a partial abatement of the non–dischargeable tax liability) simultaneous with chapter 7 or 13.
- Tax Refunds – Debtors in either chapter 7 or chapter 13 want to keep as much of their tax refund as possible. Our office will compare your income tax withholding and exemptions with when you intend to file for bankruptcy in helping you keep as much money as possible. Clients are also made aware that the portion of a tax refund attributable to a non–filing spouse cannot typically be taken by a trustee.
- Representation of Small Business Owners – Many of our clients in Colorado are self–employed sole proprietors or business owners who incorporate an LLC or S–Corp. Unlike W–2 employees who receive a pay check, small business owners must deal with payroll and withholding issues. Attorney David M. Serafin can better calculate your overall gross income with deductions from disposable income (particularly under the Means Test) for the exact tax you are to pay the IRS, state of Colorado and any localities. The Law Office of David M. Serafin will go through the correct tax forms to complete and advise as to how much income and deductions you should claim. Structuring the business to legally pay as little tax as possible will also leave a debtor with more financial leeway to allocate the funds as he sees fit (otherwise called smart pre–bankruptcy planning), such as contributing to a retirement plan, or buying a house or car.
- Asset Protection – A tax attorney representing bankruptcy debtors is best qualified to help legally protect assets from creditors and the trustee. Attorney David M. Serafin will aggressively employ the Colorado Exemption laws to ensure that as little property and money as possible is subject to liquidation by creditors. Also, in more complex cases, clients who own assets, such as real estate or investments, with a built in capital gain need to determine how to best protect its value to the extent possible. The Law Office of David M. Serafin also deals with situations where parties to a divorce (whether filed before or after a bankruptcy) require advice regarding transfers of real and personal property, regardless of whether ordered by a divorce court, and
- Surrender of Real Estate – Unfortunately, many clients either voluntarily or involuntarily surrender their home back to the mortgage lender. Even though bankruptcy will almost always discharge the resulting mortgage deficiency (except for 100% chapter 13 plans for higher income debtors), many clients later receive a Form 1099A or 1099COD from the lender and are uncertain as to the tax consequences. Attorney David M. Serafin will specifically advise you of any tax issues pertaining to the surrender of your home.