Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal


Prior to 2005, an individual was able to discharge debt related to a late-filed tax return as long as that individual satisfied the Beard test and certain statutory requirements. In 2005, Congress amended the Bankruptcy Code and included a definition of 'return'. Under the new definition, a document is a return if the document 'satisfies the requirements of applicable bankruptcy law (including applicable filing requirements).' Following the amendments, the Fifth Circuit created the 'one-day-late' rule when it held that a tax form filed one day late is never a valid tax return. In contrast, the Ninth Circuit subsequently held that the Beard test is still applicable. This Comment argues that the one-day-late interpretation is incorrect, and that Congress intended to codify the Beard test through the 2005 amendments.