Credit Counseling Comment Deadline

30 Mar Credit Counseling Comment Deadline

April 1, 2008, is the last day for citizen comment on an important regulation! The date may be full of irony but this deadline is no joke. The US Trustee has submitted a proposed rule that includes specific requirements for the credit counseling “briefing” required of all individual debtors by 11 USC §109(h)(1). The relevant part of that statute reads as follows:

…an individual may not be a debtor under this title unless such individual has, during the 180-day period preceding the date of filing of the petition by such individual, received from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency described in section 111(a) an individual or group briefing (including a briefing conducted by telephone or on the Internet) that outlined the opportunities for available credit counseling and assisted such individual in performing a related budget analysis.

The public comment period ends April 1, 2008. The proposed regulation created by the US Trustee can be found in a PDF on their web site. The US Trustee description of the briefing required by Congress is set forth in the definition in §58.12(a)(12).

Among other “liberties” taken by the US Trustee in drafting this regulation is the time period required for the credit counseling briefing. By UST definition, the briefing on average is to take “at least 60 minutes”. Where is that requirement found in the statute? Why can’t this briefing be performed by using a one page handout with a budget form on the back or a self calculating webpage? Why should debtors waste time and money sitting online or on the phone for “at least” an hour? If these questions or others have occurred to you during the past two and half years, now is the time to speak your mind.

Your comments will become a permanent part of the official record for this regulation and can be made easily online at a special web site http://www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp established by the federal government for the purpose of receiving citizen input on proposed regulations. You must reference the US Trustee identifier “Docket No. EOUST 102” when making your comment.

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I was admitted to practice in 1978. I am certified as a Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist by the American Board of Certification. I regularly speak on tax and bankruptcy issues at state, regional and national conferences. Years of experience in practice before the Internal Revenue Service and Oregon Department of Revenue have given me the background to resolve a large variety of consumer tax issues.
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