You may be able to discharge income tax debt owed to the IRS or the State of California by filing for bankruptcy, under certain circumstances:

  1. The tax debt must be at least three years old.
  2. You must have filed a tax return for the unpaid debt at least two years before filing for bankruptcy.
  3. The back taxes must have been assessed more than 240 days before you filed for bankruptcy.
  4. There must have been no misconduct on your part involving the back taxes in question, such as tax evasion or filing a fraudulent tax return.

There are other important factors to consider when attempting to discharge tax debt in bankruptcy. For instance, even if your back taxes are discharged, if there is a tax lien on your assets (i.e. real estate or a retirement plan), the IRS or California taxing authority may still be able to enforce the lien later on.