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Expenses - Acceptable/Unacceptable in a budget for Chapter 13

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  • Expenses - Acceptable/Unacceptable in a budget for Chapter 13


    I have been visiting the forum since my initial post under "General Bankruptcy Talk" and can't seem to quite find answers I am looking for to my questions if I qualify for Chapter 13. When a debtor first pre-files for Chapter 13, he or she will have to list all of his or her creditors to submit to the BK attorney and go through a means test. Then he or she will have to come up with expenses which will be factored in the budget. Does anyone know or from experience what expenses are acceptable/unacceptable in a budget during a Chapter 13? For example I am on a phone plan with my two adult kids. Do I report the entire expense of the phone bill or my portion toward the phone bill (my kids pitch in with their portions)?

    Thank you!
    Filed CH13 Winter of 2018; Confirmed Summer of 2018; 5 Year payment plan

  • #2
    The expenses are actually quite fixed on the Means Test as the Means Test bases everything on the IRS Collection Financial Standards. Not everything you may think is an acceptable expense is easy to have allowed in a Chapter 13. Specifically,, most Trustees don't allow much phone expense outside the allowance. In our District, they only allow up to $99, and once you cross $100, the Chapter 13 Trustees are known to complain. Most utility expenses have a cap as specified by the IRS standards.

    If you want to learn the "standards" you can always go to...

    Please be aware that those are categorized and cover many areas. You'll also do an actual expense summary that goes on Schedule J. Every person's expenses and income is different and many expenses are based on State, County, and/or Metro area.
    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


    • #3
      List the expenses that you have that are requested on the Form 22C and Schedule J form. List what you think you need to live on. Don't underestimate or lowball your initial listing of expenses to your attorney. Let your attorney (and ultimately the trustee) tell you that something you list is unreasonable.

      There was one expense (see below) that to my pleasant surprise, my attorney said I claim the whole amount despite the instructions. The trustee was OK with it and I did not have to provide documentation and my plan was confirmed at the $147 per month per child.. Deductions like this create wiggle room in your Ch 13 because yearly education expenses can fluctuate. That expense and it's instructions on the 22C as follows:

      25. Education expenses for dependent children who are younger than 18. The monthly expenses (not more than $147* per child) that you pay for your dependent children who are younger than 18 years old to attend a private or public elementary or secondary school. You must give your case trustee documentation of your actual expenses, and you must explain why the amount claimed is reasonable and necessary and not already accounted for in lines 2-19.
      Filed Ch 13 Fall 2013, 60 month plan


      • #4
        Thank you, Justbroke and switch! I have an appointment with my attorney later this month to go over the timetable of filing for Chapter 13, discuss my expenses and determine my DMI. I am scared and worried though how all this will affect me and my adult kids who are staying with me. They plan to move out eventually but they only have part time jobs and one of them want to continue with classes at a community college. A list of questions to ask my attorney and hopefully he will be willing to support me for 3 to 5 years depending on the outcome of my Chapter 13 and what the Trustee will determine out of this.
        Filed CH13 Winter of 2018; Confirmed Summer of 2018; 5 Year payment plan


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