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If a tax debt is owed to the IRS can filing bankruptcy settle this debt and allow you to start over?

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Yes you can start over but this does have an extreme barring on your credit. You can include the years prior to three years from the tax year you owed the IRS. However any years owing after the fact, you will be responsible for.
Actually, you can under certain circumstances -- mainly if enough time has gone by (except in cases involving fraud):

As a result of Bankruptcy Code Sections 523 and 527, the following IRS tax is generally dischargeable:

Tax penalties for non-filing, tax penalties for late payment, tax penalties for late deposit, and tax penalties for late estimated payments; and Income tax, excise tax, and gift tax which is over three years old, has been filed at least two years prior to the bankruptcy petition, and/or has been assessed as an IRS tax audit deficiency for at least 240 days.

The above poster is right. I was recently discharged from a bankruptcy. When I filed for bankruptcy I owed money to the IRS. My attorney said as long as it had been THREE YEARS from the tax year that you owed the IRS it can be included in a bankruptcy.
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