A taxpayer is insolvent when his or her total liabilities exceed his or her total assets. The forgiven debt may be excluded as income under the "insolvency" exclusion. Normally, a taxpayer is not required to include forgiven debts in income to the extent that the taxpayer is insolvent. The forgiven debt may also qualify for exclusion if the debt was discharged in a Title 11 bankruptcy proceeding or if the debt is qualified farm indebtedness or qualified real property business indebtedness. If you believe you qualify for any of these exceptions, see the instructions for Form 982.
In accounting, insolvency is the state of being unable to pay the debts, by a person or company (debtor), at maturity; those in a state of insolvency are said to be insolvent. There are two forms: cash-flow insolvency and balance-sheet insolvency.
Cash-flow insolvency is when a person or company has enough assets to pay what is owed, but does not have the appropriate form of payment. For example, a person may own a large house and a valuable car, but not have enough liquid assets to pay a debt when it falls due. Cash-flow insolvency can usually be resolved by negotiation. For example, the bill collector may wait until the car is sold and the debtor agrees to pay a penalty.
Balance-sheet insolvency is when a person or company does not have enough assets to pay all of their debts. The person or company might enter bankruptcy, but not necessarily. Once a loss is accepted by all parties, negotiation is often able to resolve the situation without bankruptcy. A company that is balance-sheet insolvent may still have enough cash to pay its next bill on time. However, most laws will not let the company pay that bill unless it will directly help all their creditors. For example, an insolvent farmer may be allowed to hire people to help harvest the crop, because not harvesting and selling the crop would be even worse for his creditors.
The principal focus of modern insolvency legislation and business debt restructuring practices no longer rests on the liquidation and elimination of insolvent entities but on the remodeling of the financial and organizational structure of debtors experiencing financial distress so as to permit the rehabilitation and continuation of their business. This is known as business turnaround or business recovery. Implementing a business turnaround may take many forms, including keep and restructure, sale as a going concern, or wind-down and exit. In some jurisdictions, it is an offence under the insolvency laws for a corporation to continue in business while insolvent. In others (like the United States with its Chapter 11 provisions), the business may continue under a declared protective arrangement while alternative options to achieve recovery are worked out. Increasingly, legislatures have favored alternatives to winding up companies for good.
Insolvency regimes around the world have evolved in very different ways, with laws focusing on different strategies for dealing with the insolvent. The outcome of an insolvent restructuring can be very different depending on the laws of the state in which the insolvency proceeding is run, and in many cases different stakeholders in a company may hold the advantage in different jurisdictions.
In Australia, corporate insolvency is governed by the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Companies can be put into Voluntary Administration, Creditors Voluntary Liquidation, and Court Liquidation. Secured creditors with registered charges are able to appoint Receivers and Receivers & Managers depending on their charge.
In Canada, bankruptcy and insolvency are generally regulated by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. An alternative regime is available to larger companies (or affiliated groups) under the Companies' Creditors Arrangements Act, where total debts exceed $5 million.
In Germany, insolvency proceedings, both for companies and for natural persons, are regulated by the Insolvency Act (Insolvenzordnung), in effect since 1999 but with significant changes in 2012. The goal of insolvency law is the equal and best satisfaction of creditors.
If the interests of creditors are respected, insolvent companies are offered different ways to restructure their businesses, for example by implementing an 'insolvency plan' (Insolvenzplan). While regular insolvency proceedings are led by a court-appointed insolvency administrator, 'debtor-in-possession' proceedings are common since the legislative changes in 2012.
In India, bankruptcy and insolvency are generally regulated by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) is the regulator for overseeing insolvency proceedings and entities like Insolvency Professional Agencies (IPA), Insolvency Professionals (IP) and Information Utilities (IU) in India.
In South Africa, owners of businesses that had at any stage traded insolvently (i.e. that had a balance-sheet insolvency) become personally liable for the business's debts. Trading insolvently is often regarded as normal business practice in South Africa, as long as the business is able to fulfill its debt obligations when they fall due.
Under Swiss law, insolvency or foreclosure may lead to the seizure and auctioning off of assets (generally in the case of private individuals) or to bankruptcy proceedings (generally in the case of registered commercial entities).
Turkish insolvency law is regulated by Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law (Code No: 2004, Original Name: İcra ve İflas Kanunu). The main concept of the insolvency law is very similar to Swiss and German insolvency laws. Enforcement methods are realizing pledged property, seizure of assets and bankruptcy.
A company which is insolvent may be put into liquidation (sometimes referred to as winding-up). The directors and shareholders can instigate the liquidation process without court involvement by a shareholder resolution and the appointment of a licensed Insolvency Practitioner as liquidator. However, the liquidation will not be effective legally without the convening of a meeting of creditors who have the opportunity to appoint a liquidator of their own choice. This process is known as creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL), as opposed to members voluntary liquidation (MVL) which is for solvent companies. Alternatively, a creditor can petition the court for a winding-up order which, if granted, will place the company into what is called compulsory liquidation or winding up by the court. The liquidator realises the assets of the company and distributes funds realised to creditors according to their priorities, after the deduction of costs. In the case of Sole Trader Insolvency, the insolvency options include Individual Voluntary Arrangements and Bankruptcy.
It can be a civil and even a criminal offence for directors to allow a company to continue to trade whilst insolvent. However, two new insolvency procedures were introduced by the Insolvency Act 1986 which aim to provide time for the rescue of a company or, at least, its business. These are Administration and Company Voluntary Arrangement:
In addition to the above-mentioned corporate insolvency procedures, a creditor holding security over an asset of the company may have the power to appoint an insolvency practitioner as administrative receiver or, in Scotland, receiver. The process, latterly known as administrative receivership or, in Scotland, receivership, has existed for many years and has often resulted in a successful rescue of a company's business via a sale, but not of the company itself. Since the introduction of the collective insolvency procedure of Administration in 1986, the legislators have decided to set a shelf life on the administrative receivership or, in Scotland, receivership procedure and it is no longer possible to appoint an administrative receiver or, in Scotland, receiver under security created after 15 September 2003.
The United States has established insolvency regimes which aim to protect the insolvent individual or company from the creditors, and balance their respective interests. For example, see Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code. However, some state courts have begun to find individual corporate officers and directors liable for driving a company deeper into bankruptcy, under the legal theory of "deepening insolvency".
In determining whether a gift or a payment to a creditor is an unlawful preference, the date of the insolvency, rather than the date of the legally declared bankruptcy, will usually be the primary consideration.
The consequences of insolvency are significant for firms, their creditors, and shareholders. As an overarching goal, insolvency law aims to protect creditors' interests by preventing many gratuitous asset transfers or potentially creditor-harming activities of the debtor firm. An over-inclusive test for insolvency would be detrimental to firm value by decreasing entrepreneurial investments and constraining other forms of capital raising. Likewise, an underinclusive test would be detrimental to creditors, who would be left with little in terms of repayment; a borrower could plunder the firm of its assets by gratuitous transfers, excessively leveraged buyouts, massive salaries and bonuses, and the like.
The ICR Standard is designed as a broad-spectrum assessment tool to assist countries in their efforts to evaluate and improve insolvency and creditor/debtor regimes. Sound insolvency and creditor/debtor regimes are fundamental to robust and diverse modes of financial intermediation, responsible access to finance, and financial stability. In addition to setting out principles underlying effective systems for formal reorganization and liquidation insolvency proceedings, organization and functioning of commercial courts and insolvency professionals, and out-of-court restructuring practices and procedure, the ICR Standard identifies principles underlying effective credit access and protection mechanisms (including security interests), commercial enforcement and credit risk management frameworks. In addition, the ICR Standard identifies principles for effective handling of cross border issues, drawing from the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross Border Insolvency. The ICR Standard is comprised of the World Bank Principles for Effective Insolvency and Creditor Rights Systems (2011) and the Recommendations from the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law (2010). 041b061a72