Category Archives: Bankruptcy Forms

Official Bankruptcy Forms Will Change on December 1, 2014

Bankruptcy_Petition_iStock_000008359066XSmallThe Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (how’s that for a mouthful) is responsible for revising and updating the official bankruptcy forms – those are the forms that you must use when you file for bankruptcy. In the past few years, the Judicial Conference has embarked on a project (the Forms Modernization Project) to make the forms easier to understand and fill out, especially for those people who are filing without an attorney.  (Learn more about completing the bankruptcy forms.)

The Committee has already revised a few of the official bankruptcy forms, and recently approved changes to another batch of forms.  As of December 1, 2014, bankruptcy filers must use new versions of the following forms:

Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments. The new form removes the reference to the filing fee amounts.

Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived. In the new form, the actual filing fee figure is no longer included on the blank order form.

Chapter 7 Means Test Forms. Currently, there is only one Chapter 7 means test form (Official Form 22A). Starting December 1, 2014, there will be three separate forms related to the Chapter 7 means test. (Learn more about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test.)

  • Form 22A-1. Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income. Everyone filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must complete this form. It calculates your current monthly income (which is actually based on your income from the previous six months) and compares it to the median income in your state for the same family size. If your income is above the state median, and you don’t fit into one of the categories in Form 22A-1-Supp, then you must also complete Form 22A-2. If your income is below the state median, then you don’t have to complete Form 22A-2.
  • Form 22A-1-Supp. Statement of Exemption from Presumption of Abuse Under §707(b)2). There are several instances when you do not have to pass the Chapter 7 means test in order to be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If any of these apply to you, you must complete Form 22A-1-Supp.
  • Form 22A-2. Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation. If your income is above the median income in your state, you must complete Form 22A-2. This form goes through a series of steps that look at your income and expenses and determine if you can afford to repay a certain amount to creditors. If you “pass” this part of the test, you can file for Chapter 7 (assuming you meet other eligibility criteria). If you don’t pass, you cannot file for Chapter 7.

Chapter 13 Disposable Income and Plan Period Calculation Forms. Currently, there is one form (Official Form 22C) you complete in order to determine how long your Chapter 13 plan will last and the amount of your disposable income (which plays a large role in how much you must pay into your plan each month).  (Learn more about disposable income and the Chapter 13 plan.) Starting December 1, 2014, there will be two forms related to this inquiry:

  • Form 22C-1. Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period. Everyone filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy must complete this form. It calculates your current monthly income and compares it to the median income in your state for a same size family. If your income is below the state median, your plan will most likely last three years, and you can use your actual expenses when calculating your disposable income. In this case, you don’t have to complete Form 22C-2. If your income is above the state median you must also complete Form 22C-2.
  • Form 22C-2. Chapter 13 Calculation of Your Disposable Income. If your income is above the state median, you must complete this form which calculates your disposable income using preset expense figures.

The forms also have a few other changes throughout. For example, one revision makes clear where to list Internet expenses and another accommodates a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding future income changes in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

On December 1, 2014 you’ll find the new forms, along with all of the other official forms, on the U.S. Court’s website, here.  You’ll also find an explanation of each of the new forms in Nolo’s Bankruptcy Forms area (articles on the new forms won’t be posted until December 1).

How to Complete Bankruptcy’s Schedule F: Untangling the Morass of Creditors and Debt Collectors

File Stack and Magnifying GlassASK LEON 

Bankruptcy expert Leon Bayer answers real-life questions.

Dear Leon, 

I’m trying to fill out a set of Chapter 7 bankruptcy schedules for myself.

I am going crazy over how to list my creditors on Schedule F. I have my credit reports for the past few years, and some of the collection agencies that used to be on the reports don’t show up on my latest report. 

Also, my reports list some collection agencies but don’t show who the original creditor was. To top it off, the dates and amounts don’t all match and the account numbers used by some collection agencies don’t match those of the original creditors. What the heck should I do?  This is so confusing. 

Sincerely, 

Sara

Dear Sara,

Welcome to my world.

On Schedule F of your bankruptcy paperwork, you must list all of your unsecured, nonpriority debts. (Learn what an unsecured, nonpriority creditor is and what information is required in Schedule F in Nolo’s article How to Fill Out Schedule F.) But, as you have discovered, figuring out who all those creditors are can be a nightmare.

Here’s how to fill out Schedule F when you are confronted with a big jumble of intimidating information.

Develop a System

First, list each one of your original creditors. If you know that a collection agency is collecting a particular debt right now, you still should list the original creditor, and then separately list the collection agency.

How to Write a Description for Each Debt

When you list an agency, you can note that it is collecting for a particular original creditor. For example, list your credit card debt at the Bank of Boot Hill, and then list the Hired Gun Collection Agency, noting it as the “assignee for the Bank of Boot Hill”.

How to List Debts From Your Credit Report That You Don’t Recognize

If you have some collection agencies that you can’t match up to an original creditor, list them anyway. When you don’t know for whom or what an agency is collecting for, you are still allowed to schedule it. List the debt as “possible claim” or “collector for an original creditor not identified.”

When in Doubt, List It

You won’t get in trouble for over listing. When in doubt, list it and include whatever you know about it.

If you list a collection agency that no longer has the debt, no harm is done to you. But doing so protects you, just in case you are wrong.

Don’t Rely Solely on Your Credit Reports

The key to hammering out a successful Schedule F list of bankruptcy creditors is to list ’em all, with a name and address. Dig deep in all your old papers, looking for creditors.

Your credit reports are a great source of information. But do not rely solely on your credit reports. You might have debts that never made it onto your reports. For example, old landlords, magazine subscriptions, vet bills, medical bills, bounced checks, and home repair services.

-Leon

Leon Bayer is a Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney.  He is a partner at Bayer, Wishman & Leotta, a California law firm specializing in bankruptcy.  The opinions and advice in this blog post are from Mr. Bayer alone, and should not be attributed to Nolo.  By answering a question on this blog, Mr. Bayer does not become your lawyer.

Find Leon on Google+

Changes to the Official Bankruptcy Forms

Bankruptcy_Petition_iStock_000008359066XSmallRecently the Judicial Conference made automatic adjustments to the dollar amounts that are included in various provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. Those adjustments went into effect on April 1, 2103.  (See the blog post Bankruptcy Code Dollar Amounts Change.) Because of the adjustments, a number or the Official Bankruptcy Forms also changed.

Revised Bankruptcy Forms

The forms that have been revised include:

  • Voluntary Petition
  • Schedule C — Property Claimed as Exempt
  • Schedule E — Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims
  • Statement of Financial Affairs
  • Proof of Claim
  • Statement of Currently Monthly Income and Means Test Calculator (the Chapter 7 Means Test)
  • Statement of Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable Income (the Means Test for Chapter 13)

There are a few others that changed as well. You can find all of the revised forms on the website of the United States Courts at www.uscourts.gov/FormsAndFees/Forms/BankruptcyForms.aspx.

To learn about each of the above-mentioned forms, visit out Completing the Bankruptcy Forms topic area.