On September 15, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (“Court”) issued the opinion Hawkins v. the Franchise Tax Board of California, et. al., Case No. 11-6276, pursuant to which the Court held that claims for non-dischargeability under Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(1)(C) based on a willful attempt to evade or defeat taxes requires a specific bad intent and not just mere knowledge of the consequences of the act. The Court determined the meaning of “willful” and decided there must be a specific bad intent to evade taxes. The Court’s opinion is contrary to previous decisions in the Tenth Circuit where all that is required is mere knowledge of a duty to pay taxes and the voluntary and intentional violation of such duty.
For the full opinion, please click here.