I am a recovering patholical gambling addict who has been issued with default notice from 3 banks totallying 95,000 in unsecured credit card debt. The credit cards repayments where in order until Oct last year and as now not working due to ga and mental illness unable to pay them. I have no assets, no money, living with friend until bank and ATO give me direction. The GA led me to get behind in PAYG and GST but now have all returns for personal and company (which is deregistered) up to date. The ATO assessments total $185,000 and a further $50,000 this year est 235,000 and ATO have told me they will wait until banks bankrupt me or I declare bankruptcy as will cost ATO $5000 plus to go down this path. The ATO have asked me to apply for release of debt on financial hardship grounds and have the document. I engaged a solicitor Dec 2014 but cost $350 for 30 minutes and told me he needs $10,000 to represent and since i have no income, money have posted this question. Should I declare bankruptcy first or let the banks do it or do i just await banks action and lodge hardship with ato as they advised? I am to believe if bankrupt by myself or banks the outcome is the same. The Ato didnt seem to take my case seriously at all and junior staff had no idea how to handle my questions or concerns. I expected they would send me to prison given 235,000 is a lot and I view the matter as serious. I am ashamed of what has happened and didn't remember much of the past 4years whilst mentally ill. I don't care if I go to prison I just need to move on with life and recovery and cant get employed until legal and financial situation resolved or clear with banks and ATO. I didn't commit any fraud and bank facilities owed nothing prior to becoming GA. ATO did not call once to chase up os tax and had my contact details. They do call now but don't seem to know what box to put me in so told me to apply for hardship. I appreciate the time taken to read this and guess would like general guidance as the mental illnesses, addiction and financial stress have already taken a huge toll on my life.