Should My Schedule I Income Always Match my Means Test Income Numbers?

26 Oct Should My Schedule I Income Always Match my Means Test Income Numbers?

Although it has been in effect for several years, the median income/means test provisions of the Bankruptcy Code continue to confuse potential bankruptcy filers.

In my Atlanta, Georgia bankruptcy practice, I regularly get questions from new clients about the two “budgets” that are filed in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. The first “budget” is the median income/means test budget. The income side of this budget is a calculated figure that arises from a month by month analysis of the gross pay of income earners in a household for the six months preceding the monthly of filing.

The second budget is what I call the “real life” budget that reflects the debtor’s current income and expense situation.

In my view the “means test budget” is not intended to actually function as a budget. Instead, taken as a whole, the means test is a qualification test to point you to either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.

Frequently the real life Schedule I and J budget looks completely different from the Form 22 means test budget and that’s fine. I have never seen any objection from the U.S. Trustee, a Chapter 7 trustee or a Chapter 13 trustee premised on the grounds that the means test numbers were inconsistent with Schedules I and J.

by , Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer

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Jonathan Ginsberg, Esq.

I represent individuals in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases filed in the Northern District of Georgia, which includes Atlanta, Newnan, Gainesville and Rome. I publish several informative web sites, including and an Atlanta bankruptcy blog, Please mention Bankruptcy Law Network when you call.

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