Public Trust Re-Investigation w/Bankruptcy and Tax Question

I just received a promotion contingent upon MRI - SF-85P. Prior MRI (same) on Feb 2013.
I got a divorce in Aug. 2010. To keep this short: 3 kids, joint custody, and now one income per household, furnish over half of new house, daughters car and college tuition… and so on. Found myself in Chapter 7 bankruptcy world in Mar 2014 - discharged Aug 14. Based on attorney’s legal advice (since I had no clearance) did not disclose to my employer. I worried a lot about this, but trusted the attorney, plus I felt really ashamed. It’s not the way you want people to see you.

Today I am in much better financial shape. I do have a contributing cohabitant now, which helps. Credit Score 747, $45,000 available credit w/only 1% usage. QUESTION: Will this be a problem for me? Will the Investigator need all of the bankruptcy records? If so, will need to get copies from attorney.

Taxes: In April 2015 - Filed (on-time) 2014 taxes and used the child tax credit on my 17 year old daughter and later received a bill from the IRS, because she was over 16 (WHAT???). Therefore, I had to pay it back. It was about $333, and I paid it back in three payments. Tight year.

This year I filed 2018 taxes on-time, but my better-half who completed the paperwork electronically, asked to, either “check my return”, and/or bill me. Not exactly sure?? I thought if that was an option it should be fine. I received my tax bill, early this June and paid it online that day. I have always filed and paid my taxes on time. These are my only years of concern. I already have one big red flag, so do not want more if it is not necessary.

QUESTION: Do I answer Yes or No to the following??

    • In the past seven (7) years, have you failed to file or pay Federal, state or other taxes when required by law or ordinance?

I very much appreciate the valuable information on this site and any advice would be helpful.

My view (and I prepare 100 or so returns every year) is that you should answer “No” . . .

You filed on time but you made a mistake. When that mistake was pointed out to you, you dealt with it and paid the bill.

BTW: The Child Tax Credit has always ended the year the child turns 17. It is also subject to a phase out so higher income earners do not qualify for it anyway. I’m not sure of the logic except that younger kids require more care.


Glad to see back Ed, missed you this past week. I concur with Ed. I too had a tax issue post divorce, faithfully paid spousal support, every penny, never missed payment. One year my ex decided she did not need to report the receipt of support money. So my claim reporting how much I paid was unmatched, caused a red flag. Spent 18 months in a frustrating fight with the IRS…but once the ex filed correctly it matched up and the flag went away. Your credit score has recovered nicely indicating you pay on time and have excellent debt to credit ratio. Speak to it and press on. You have nothing to worry about as you captured here.



Your opinion along with Ed’s means a lot. I will just be as honest and forthright as I can. I know I made mistakes, but it wasn’t completely apparent at the time that I was making them. Fingers crossed, hoping for the best outcome!


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Thank you so much for your quick reply! :slightly_smiling_face:

That is at least one thing off of my worry list. I am not sure of the logic either, since we are legally responsible for out kids until they are 18. I do agree younger kids do need more care, but teenagers are more expensive! Just saying!

Do you have advice on the bankruptcy? I am worried about the interview. I think that for the most part I financially responsible, but I made some rookie mistakes. I say rookie, because I met my husband when I was 19, and he was 28. We were married for 20 years, and he managed all of the money.

Post divorce, I had to buy bedroom furniture for the kids, and wanted them to have something nice. The divorce was bad enough for them. I fell into the credit card ‘no payment and no interest for two years’ kind of thing… and there were medical issue due to a back injury. I also bought a house, and the mortgage insurance and taxes were not escrowed. I payed them on credit cards. I will say, I have learned many valuable lessons the hard way.

Any thoughts?

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The biggest mistake Subjects make on the SCA (85 or 86( is not reporting all of the delinquent debts separately on the SCA.

List all of the debts you were delinquent and the bankruptcy. If you don’t know all of the debts, then pull all three of your credit reports or go to the bankruptcy court and get a copy (this is cheaper than your lawyer).

Think of the SCA as a very thorough examination where details count and lack of details loses points.


If I had known that I would be missed, I would have let you know before I left . . . A little time in the hospital . . . Not a big deal but no fun anyway . . .

This may be a stupid questions, but what is the SCA?

I see that on the ‘Additional Questions for Moderate Risk Positions’ there is a “Continuation Sheet” to explain and give details. Is this the area where I should list this information?

Also, do I try to explain what got me into the situation in writing before the interview or just wait for the interview to explain? I am not really sure the best way to handle this.

I really appreciate your help and feedback.

SCA is a generic term for the SF85 or SF86 questionnaires, or eQIP,. It means Security Clearance Application.

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Thank you so much! I have been working for the government for 10 years (public trust), but never had an issue until now. I have not become privy to the lingo.

I probably should have reported the bankruptcy to my employer, but my attorney told me not to. He said if I had a security clearance that would be different. He said that by the time my Re-BG came up, I would hopefully prove that I was showing an improvement and time is beneficial regarding these things, unless there is not a significant improvement.

Thank you so much for you advice and help.

The best rule of thumb with federal government employment is to report anything that you had to report on the forms for your previous background investigation.

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@Julan4523 what was your final outcome?