The changes made to the bankruptcy code in 2005 set about some new requirements and rules for those filing for bankruptcy. In addition to an increase in the costs of filing fees, debtors also have to pass a rigorous income test to weed out those who could resolve their debts through Chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7. However, there are a few additional requirements that are less well know, but equally as important.
Anyone considering filing for bankruptcy must ensure that their tax returns have been filed and are current. The changes in bankruptcy laws do not require that filers be caught up on tax debts, but their tax records must be filed with the IRS before filing. Additionally, copies of tax returns for the last three to five years must be submitting along with the petition.
Debtors are also required to attend and complete a credit counseling course before their debts can be discharged. The course must be approved by a reputable credit counseling agency and contain relevant information about financial management and debtor education. Debtors must submit a certificate of completion to the court within 180 days of the debt discharge.
The court will also require debtors to submit proof of financial details such as income and expense reports. Paycheck stubs for the prior 60 days or more will be required to be submitted to the court. An statement of income and expenses is also required to be submitted annually for anyone proceeding with a Chapter 13 case.