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I owe a lot of income taxes. Can you really stop the IRS from coming after me?


Yes. The minute your bankruptcy case is filed the IRS becomes just like any other creditor. They have to stop all collection efforts, and they cannot charge you any more interest or penalties. (But any penalties that were added to your tax debt before filing the bankruptcy case remain in place.)

Not all IRS debts get priority treatment. The laws that control whether income tax debts are classified as priority or as general unsecured are far too complicated to discuss here, but it is safe to say that all federal tax debts that were less than three years old at the time of filing will get priority treatment. If you filed proper tax returns, and if the tax debts are more than three years old, then most of the time those will be treated as general unsecured claims.

As discussed in more detail in the FAQ just before this one, a priority debt like this has to be paid in full. A Chapter 7 will get rid of unsecured tax debts, but will not have any effect on priority tax debts.