Smith v. IRS, No. 14-15857 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff failed to timely file his 2001 tax forms and filed a Form 1040 seven years after it was due, and three years after the IRS assessed a deficiency against him. Plaintiff later filed for bankruptcy and sought to discharge his 2001 tax liability. The bankruptcy court permitted the discharge, but the district court reversed. In In re Hatton, the court adopted the Tax Court’s widely-accepted definition of “return.” The court held that plaintiff's tax liabilities are nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(1)(B)(i). The court also held that Hatton applies to the bankruptcy code as amended, and that plaintiff’s tax filing, made seven years late and three years after the IRS assessed a deficiency against him, was not an “honest and reasonable” attempt to comply with the tax code. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.