Tax Return Filing Deadline: The US Bankruptcy Code does NOT require a taxpayer to be in compliance with all filing requirements as of the day the bankruptcy case is filed. The taxpayer has time after the bankruptcy case is filed to tender to the IRS any missing tax returns. Section 1308(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. §1308(a), requires a taxpayer to file all tax returns for the four years prior to the bankruptcy filing date; the submission deadline is not identified by statute as a certain number of days after the bankruptcy case is filed. Instead, the deadline is set as no later than the day before the Section 341 meeting of creditors, which is approximately 30-45 days after the bankruptcy case is filed.
Best practices: File all un-filed tax returns before filing the bankruptcy case. If emergency protection from creditors is required, then a bankruptcy case should be filed to obtain an injunction against the creditors. But, the taxpayer and the tax professional must strive to file the missing tax returns as quickly as possible after the bankruptcy case and prior to the deadline of one day before the Section 341 meeting of creditors.