What Debts are not Dischargeable?

There are specific debts that are not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Here is a list of the types of debts that are not dischargeable with some details on how the rules are applied, some common exceptions that might allow you to discharge the debts, and a comment about wether there may a different rule in a Chapter 13 filing.

Tax debts and debts incurred to pay tax debts.

In a Chapter 13 case you by able to discharge debts incurred to pay a nondischargeable tax debt.

There is an exemption for federal income taxes if the following conditions are met. * The tax return was due at least 3 years ago. * You did file the tax return at least 2 years ago. * Any tax assessment based on the return is at least 240 days old. * The return was not fraudulent and you’re not guilty of intentional evading the tax law.

Debts that were incurred by means of embezzlement, larceny, false pretenses, false representation, or actual fraud.

The underlying principle is that a debtor should not be able to discharge debts that they used deceit or illegal activity to receive. The creditor must file a complaint and show that these debts were procured through malfeasance, otherwise they will be discharged.

Debts that are not listed in the bankruptcy petition.

This applies unless the creditor had actual notice or knowledge of the bankruptcy filing in time to file a claim. Also, this might not apply if it was due to a mistake and there are no assets to distribute in the case.

Domestic Support Obligations

This includes alimony, spousal support, and child support.

Debts owed to a former spouse or child as a result of separation agreement or divorcee decree.

You may be able to discharge debts to a former spouse in a Chapter 13 filing.

Debt incurred as a result of willful and malicious injury by the debtor to another entity or property of another.

The creditor must object to the discharge based on this exception otherwise the debt will be discharged.

Fines or penalties owed to a government agency.

Student loans.

There is a hardship exception to the nondischargeability of student loans. It is generally hard to qualify under this exception and you must show a very low income.

Debts for personal injury or wrongful death caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle while the debtor was intoxicated.

Debts that were or could have been listed in a prior bankruptcy case in which the debtor waived discharge or was denied discharge.

These debts can be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

Debt incurred to a condominium association, homeowners association, or cooperative housing corporation.

Fines and penalties assessed by a court.

Debt owed to retirement plans.

You may be able to discharge these in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

Aggregate credit purchases for luxury goods totaling more than $650 in the 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy.

The creditor must file a complaint or the debts will be discharged. If the debtor can show that they intended to pay the charges or that the items were not in fact “luxury goods” then the debt will be discharged.

Cash advances totaling more than $925 from any one creditor in the 70 days prior to filing bankruptcy.

The creditor must file a complaint or the debts will be discharged. If debtor can show that they intended to pay the debt back or that the debt was for business purposes then the debt will be discharged.


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Bankruptcy is complex and many answers depend upon your specific situation. If you still have questions you can schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.