Generally, yes. Most attorneys would agree that a debtor should always file their most recent taxes prior to filing for bankruptcy.
Several reasons may exist, however the most predominate reasons I have come across include (1) determining what portion of the tax return-if any- the debtor is entitled to exempt from the assigned bankruptcy trustee; (2) validating past and current income reporting requirements to the Court and assigned trustee; and (3) validating other reporting requirements and expenses such as expenses for minors, charity, and back owed taxes.
The bankruptcy court requires each debtor in a Chapter 7 proceeding to provide his/her most recent tax return. Further, in a Chapter 13 proceeding, the Court requires a debtor to confirm tax filings for the most recent four (4) years.
Filing for bankruptcy is a complex process. Further, determining whether to prepare your taxes before filing for bankruptcy is difficult and should be done without error to avoid protecting tax returns refunds. Thus, it is crucial that you select a highly skilled bankruptcy attorney. I make it my goal to provide each client the dedicated time and experience to assist the client with his/her bankruptcy.