Under IRC §108(a)(1), cancellation of debt income (1099c) is excluded from taxation if (1) the discharge of indebtedness occurs in title 11 (bankruptcy) cases, or (2) if the discharge occurs when the taxpayer is insolvent and the amount excluded is not more than the amount by which the taxpayer is insolvent.
BotXXXXX XXXXXne, if you file bankruptcy before your debt is "charged off" by the creditor, you will not have to demonstrate your insolvency to the bankruptcy court.
Hope this helps.
Terms and Conditions: By your continuing in this conversation with me, or by your clicking “Accept”, you are expressly agreeing to all of the following: (1) our communication is for entertainment purposes only; (2) you are not consulting me in my professional capacity as an attorney; (3) you do not seek to establish an attorney-client relationship with me, nor do I with you; (4) you will not rely on anything I say and you will obtain appropriate legal counsel via a traditional/office consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where your legal issue arises (and you may not use our communication to avoid taxpayer penalties imposed by the U.S. Dept. of Treasury); (5) by communicating with me in this public forum you are irrevocably waiving any right to privacy, confidentiality and attorney-client privilege concerning the matters discussed. You further separately declare that any payment made by you is not consideration for this contract, nor offered for any services rendered by me on your behalf, but rather is made in genuine admiration and respect for my desire to help others. If you do not agree with these terms and conditions, then you must advise me immediately.
That's the #2 factor I already explained You woulkd have to sue the IRS in bankruptcy court and show that you were insolvent and that th debt should be discharged.
Some fun, huh?
The date that the 1099c is issued is irrelevant. What matters is the date at which the debt becomes uncollectable by the creditor. That is a question of fact for any debt. But, for a foreclosure sale in California, a first trust deed sold at a foreclosure sale is uncollectable at the instant of foreclosure. Whereas an second trust deed equity credit line on the same property is not uncollectable until the creditor has taken reasonable steps to collect (i.e., sued for a deficiency judgment and then found the debtor without sufficient assets to pay the judgment), or the debtor files for bankruptcy protection.
Re the definition of insolvent and retiremnt accounts, "a taxpayer claiming to be insolvent for purposes of S 108(a)(1)(B) and challenging the Commissioner's determination of deficiency must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she will be called upon to pay an obligation claimed to be a liability and that the total amount of liabilities so proved exceed the fair market value of his or her assets." Merkel v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 192 F.3d 844 (9th Cir. 09/17/1999) In other words, a retirement account with sufficient value to pay a debt, though exempt from the requirement of being used to pay that debt, is nevertheles avaialble to pay that debt, and therefore, the debtor is not insolvent for the purposes of IRC 108(a)(1)(B).
Note: I mistated the law eariler by saying that you would have to sue the IRS in bankruptcy court. The process is that you would not declare the 1099c income on your return and then have to sue the IRS in either Tax Court or Federal District Court to avoid the tax liability, if the IRS found that you were not insolvent at the relevant date.
I don't know when banks typically charge off their debt. In order to declare the debt uncollectable, for tax purposes, a taxpayer must take "reasonable steps" to collect. That's a very squishy rule, which probably favors both the bank and the debtor, because each can argue that the debt was either collectable or uncollectable, as may be necessary to support their argument against the IRS.
The 1099c shows the date that the debt was cancelled, and it further shows whether the debtor was known by the creditor to be in bankruptcy at the time of cancellation. So, the IRS probably requires proof from a debtor-taxpayer, any time that the bankruptcy box is left unchecked.
You may be overthinking this, though. If the bank has a deficiency judgment, it would ordinarily have to hold a judgment debtor exam in court to ascertain all of the debtor's assets and their location before requesting a writ of execution or garnishment from the court. And, if it doesn't, then you could argue that it failed to take reasonable steps to collect before cancelling the debt. Point being that you will be served an order to appear in court for that exam, or some other legal process intended to discover your assets before the bank cancels the debt. That's when you would be thinking hard about filing bankruptcy. And, if the bank doesn't conduct that postjudgment process, then you have an argument that the bank didn't take reasonable steps to collect, which means that the debt is not uncollectable under the IRC, and the 1099c is erroneous.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).