In a recent post, we began discussing the way monthly payments are determined in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. As we noted, Form 22C requires debtors to enter the sources and amounts of income they have at the time of the filing. Having the guidance of an experienced attorney is important when filling out Form 22C, since issues can arise from time to time regarding exactly how income should be reported.

When a question arises as to how income should be reported, the bankruptcy court is required to set the matter straight. For its part, the U.S. Trustee Program—the branch of the Department of Justice responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases and private trustees—has its own established positions that it advocates in court. Some lines on Form 22C can be complicated with respect to what is required. In addition, properly determining applicable deductions isn’t always an easy matter, and it is important to get it right. 

In addition to determining one’s annual income and deductions, Form 22C determines the proper commitment period, which is either three or five years, as well as the debtor’s disposable income. Through these numbers, the court determines what the debtor’s payments will be during the commitment period.

One important reason to work with an experienced advocate when filling out bankruptcy paperwork is that it will reduce the possibility of opening oneself up to allegations of fraud. Short of that, however, improperly filled out paperwork can bog down the process and cause delays. An experienced attorney can help make sure that a debtor doesn’t forget to report any income or assets and that all paperwork is accurately and fully completed.