Lawmaker files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy a second time

Mississippi residents should know that Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a tool that everyone may be able to use to get out of debt, especially those who have a steady income and are willing to work out a repayment plan. Recently, a well-known former lawmaker filed for this type of bankruptcy in an effort to avoid tax debt.

Former Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, an outspoken opponent of the federal income tax, recently filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In an unusual move, this was the second time this year that he has filed for Chapter 13.

The debts at issue in his bankruptcy proceeding stem from tax issues and penalties he has incurred for unpaid back taxes. Hart filed for Chapter 13 earlier this year, but decided to dismiss the case after he agreed with the bankruptcy trustee that he was ineligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy because his debts exceeded limits imposed by the bankruptcy code. Now, Hart has filed another Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding. The court documents reveal that his financial circumstances are quite similar to his previous financial circumstances. Accordingly, it is unclear how this second bankruptcy matter will progress.

Although the effects of the filing are unknown, the lawmaker's case reminds people in Mississippi that Chapter 13 is a tool that they can use during times of financial challenges to secure debt relief. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often a good option for someone who has a steady income but whose debts that exceed this income. These particular bankruptcy proceedings allow the individual to set up a payment plan to pay off these debts over a number of years. While making these manageable payments, the individual may also be able to protect key assets like a home.

It may not always be clear whether Chapter 13 is a possible tool to combat financial challenges. A legal professional in Mississippi rehearsed in this area of the law can help navigate the complex bankruptcy code and determine the best solution.

Source: SFGate.com, "Idaho lawmaker files for bankruptcy - again," Rebecca Boone, Oct. 26, 2012.

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