Bankruptcy Attorney In South Florida
Helping Businesses and Individuals Eliminate Debt And Rebuild Their Financial Lives
Have you reached the point where the crushing weight of debt has become too much to bear? Are you tired of creditors and bill collectors harassing you at all hours of the day and night? Do you worry about the IRS levying your assets over tax debt?
Whether you are an individual facing foreclosure or a business considering closing its doors, the Law Firm of Joel M. Aresty, P.A. can help you escape the stranglehold of debt and emerge financially secure.
Call (305) 904-1903 now for a Free consultation with Bankruptcy Attorney, Joel M. Aresty.
Mr. Aresty is well respected throughout South Florida and has helped countless individuals and businesses wipe out debt and get the fresh start they deserve.
During your consultation, he will carefully review your current financial situation and provide you with various legal options, including bankruptcy.
Unmanageable debt requires bold yet smart action and Mr. Aresty is the attorney you want to guide you through the legal process.
While the idea of declaring bankruptcy may seem like admitting defeat — it couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather, it showcases your determination to get on a path toward good financial health.
Bankruptcy can help you dig yourself out of a hole, catch your breath, and create a plan.
Bankruptcy is a complex area of law with high stakes. It’s absolutely crucial to seek the assistance of a seasoned bankruptcy attorney.
The Law Office of Joel M. Aresty, P.A. specializes in:
- Small Business Bankruptcy
- Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for Large Corporations
- Federal Court Local Counsel
- Federal Court Litigation
- Assignment for Benefit of Creditors
- Single Asset Real Estate
- Real Estate Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy Options For The Small Business Owner
Owning and managing a small business in Florida is no easy task. An uncertain economy and limited access to capital and business resources are just some of the roadblocks that can keep a business from sustaining its profitability.
Whatever the root cause of your business’s financial struggles, there are viable options available to you that can wipe out your debt completely — and in some circumstances keep your doors open for business.
If your business debt has become too unmanageable, chapters of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code may provide the solution you’re looking for.
To determine the bankruptcy chapter that is right for you, you need to answer a few questions:
Will my business turn around or is it time to pull the plug?
What is the legal structure of my business?
What assets does my business have?
Does my business have tax debt?
Filing for Chapter 7, 11, or 13 requires complying with a vast number of federal laws and regulations. The smallest error committed at any stage of the process can result in the court refusing to discharge your debts.
When you retain a highly qualified bankruptcy attorney like Mr. Aresty, you won’t have to worry about jeopardizing your future.
If You Want To Discharge Debts And Shut Down Your Business: Choose Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option for you if:
- the business has no future
- the debts incurred are so overwhelming that restructuring would not be feasible
- there are no substantial assets
In Florida, sole proprietorships, corporations and partnerships can choose to file for protection under Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
When you file for Chapter 7, an “automatic stay” goes into effect which puts an immediate stop to any collection efforts from creditors.
- In exchange for this protection, a court appointed trustee will liquidate the company’s assets and distribute the proceeds to your creditors.
- Any unpaid debts after the liquidation sale will be forgiven and the business will no longer exist.
- Lease obligations, contracts, utility bills, credit cards, loans, overdue accounts, and all other business debts will have been paid to the extent possible by the bankruptcy trustee.
Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy For Sole Proprietors
If you are a sole proprietor, you and your business are considered the same legal entity — which means that the assets and debts of your business count as personal assets and debts.
In this situation, it’s best to file a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy.
If you want to keep your sole proprietorship in tact but need to get some breathing room from creditors, Chapter 13 can be a helpful alternative.
Unlike Chapter 7, which completely discharges your debt, Chapter 13 allows you to set up an affordable plan for repaying a portion of your debt over time, generally 3-5 years.
At the law firm of Joel M. Aresty, we work closely with you to develop a repayment plan that is manageable and will be approved by the court.
Bankruptcy For Large Corporations Who Need To Reorganize Business: Choose Chapter 11
If your business has a heavy debt burden but you’re confident it can recover, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing could be the right move for you.
Chapter 11 is rarely used in small business bankruptcies but is utilized by corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies. Well-known corporations like General Motors, United Airlines, Lehman Brothers, and K-Mart have filed for Chapter 11.
Chapter 11 allows you to restructure your finances under a debt repayment plan, in which you agree to pay your creditors over a specific period of time.
During bankruptcy, you can continue operating your business and maintain possession of assets but will do so under the supervision of the court.
Can Bankruptcy Help Wipe Out Tax Debts?
It is a common misconception that bankruptcy cannot eliminate tax liability. The truth is, you can discharge your back federal, state, and local income tax debt (including interest and penalties) in Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11 if certain time sensitive rules are met.
Three Year Rule
- To discharge your back income taxes, three years must have passed from the date the tax return was due.
- Example: 2009 federal income taxes are due on April 15, 2010. To wipe out the ’09 debt, bankruptcy would need to be filed after April 15, 2013.
Two Year Rule
- If you filed your tax return late, two years need to lapse from the date the taxes were filed AND more than three years from the date the taxes were due.
- Example: Income taxes were due on April 15, 2009 and there was no extension given. The taxes were filed on June 1, 2010. To discharge the ’09 taxes, bankruptcy cannot be filed until June 1, 2012.
240 Days Rule
- Taxes must be assessed by the IRS within 240 days before the filing of bankruptcy. Assessment date is the date that tax liability is entered on IRS records. If you file a correction or a change results from an IRS audit, the assessment date may be substantially later.
- Example: 2009 taxes were filed on April 15, 2009. Taxes are assessed by the IRS on the same day. All of the 3-2-240 rules are met on April 15, 2012. If a correction was filed on January 1, 2012, the 240-day clock starts over. Therefore bankruptcy cannot be filed until August 28, 2012 (January 1, 2012, plus 240 days) to discharge the taxes.
Non Dischargeable Tax Debts
You cannot get rid of most non-income-related tax debts, including:
- Tax liens: If a lien based on the debt is attached to your property, the debt is classified as a secured debt. You must pay back 100% of any secured tax debt
- Recent property taxes: Property tax you incurred before you filed for bankruptcy, and was last due without penalty less than one year from the filing is non-dischargeable.
- Taxes that you, as an employer, were required to collect or withhold from your employees including “trust fund” taxes such as FICA, Medicare, and income taxes; also includes sales taxes paid by your customers
- Certain employment taxes, excise taxes, and custom duties, depending on specific time periods.
Chapter 7 and Tax Debt
The moment you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the automatic stay protects you and your assets from collection, levy, and federal tax lien.
The IRS will be stopped from collecting a prior tax debt until your discharge is entered, approximately 3 months after your case is filed.
This gives you time to work out a solution for handling any tax debt that may not be discharged in bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 And Tax Debt
Chapter 13 will allow you to repay your tax debts over the 3-5 years of your plan. The IRS cannot object to your payment plan once it is approved by the bankruptcy court. In addition, you can often pay priority tax debts at 0% interest over the life of the repayment plan.
How Bankruptcy Can Help With Foreclosure
If you are facing foreclosure, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help.
The moment you file, an automatic stay directs your creditors to cease their collection activities.
Even if your home is scheduled for a foreclosure sale, the sale will be postponed while the bankruptcy is pending–typically for three to four months.
If you’re struggling to keep up with your mortgage payments, Chapter 13 can help you get current through a repayment plan over the course of 3-5 years. As long as you make the required monthly payments, you’ll be able to keep your home.
Another advantage of filing for Chapter 13 is the opportunity to remove a second or third mortgage.
Don’t Stay Another Day In Debt
If you are a business owner struggling to keep your business afloat or an individual overwhelmed by mounting debt, relief can be yours when you call Bankruptcy Attorney, Joel M. Aresty today (305) 904-1903.
The law offices of Joel M. Aresty are conveniently located in Miami and Tampa, but we serve the entire state of Florida, including the following areas:
- Key West
- Florida Keys
- Key Largo
- Fort Lauderdale
- West Palm Beach
- Naples Fort Myers
- St. Petersburg