Practical Concerns Regarding Wage Garnishment and Bankruptcy

When an individual files a personal bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy automatic is triggered and most collection actions, including garnishments against the debtor, must immediately cease. Further creditor activity generally violates the automatic stay protection – even where the creditor is unaware of the bankruptcy filing! While the automatic stay casts a long shadow of protection, it is not magical. As …

A Second Bankruptcy, the Automatic Stay, and a Foreclosure

In 2005, Congress, with help (and influence) from creditor lobbyists, chose to add restrictions to the automatic stay and make it harder for a serial filer to get debt relief. Section 362(c)(3)(A) provides that if an individual debtor files a second bankruptcy case within a year of dismissal, the automatic stay terminates “with respect to the debtor on the 30th …

Tax Debt Tolling

Despite common myths, personal taxes are dischargeable in bankruptcy, but only if the following conditions are satisfied: •    The taxes are income taxes; •    There is no evidence of fraud or willful evasion; •    The debt was originally due at least three years before the bankruptcy filing (Three Year Rule); •    A tax return for the debt was filed at …

Wells Fargo and Chase Accused of Mortgage Kickbacks

Recently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Maryland Attorney General took action against Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase for an illegal marketing-services-kickback scheme they participated in with Genuine Title, a now-defunct title company. According to the CFPB website, Genuine Title gave the banks’ loan officers cash, marketing materials, and consumer information in exchange for business referrals. The CFPB …

Can I Keep My Anticipated Tax Refund If I File Chapter 13?

Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an opportunity to pay creditors over three to five years. Your monthly payments are largely determined by whatever you can afford to pay, but there are other rules. One of these rules directs that you must pay unsecured creditors an amount equal to what they would receive in a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy. This can …

Can I Keep My Future Tax Refunds After I File Chapter 13?

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 re-emphasized the need for a Chapter 13 debtor to commit all of his or her disposable income to repaying creditors during bankruptcy.  Since that time, Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustees across the country have argued that tax refunds constitute disposable income – income not needed by the debtor to pay reasonable …

Can I Keep My Anticipated Tax Refund If I File Chapter 7?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an erase-your debts-start-fresh bankruptcy. It is meant to give an individual a chance to begin anew on a financial path without the burden of overwhelming debts dragging him or her down. On the other hand, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not intended as a way to legally hide from debts the person can afford to pay. …

Is Early in the Year a Good Time to File Bankruptcy?

The beginning of the year can be either a good time or a bad time to file bankruptcy. The distinction boils down to tax-related issues, and filing your personal bankruptcy during this time can either be a boon or a bust for your finances. The general rule is: if you owe taxes, file early. If you expect a refund, wait. …

How Long after Christmas Should You Wait to File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy after the holiday season is very attractive for many debtors, and for good reasons. Bankruptcy is a good time to purge debt, especially from credit cards, and get personal finances under control. However, timing your bankruptcy after Christmas can mean the difference between a fresh start and a false start.   The Bankruptcy Code provides that credit card purchases …

Stop Automatic Payments during Bankruptcy

Automatic payments are a convenient way to pay bills. An automatic payment is an automated process that pays bills directly from a banking or brokerage account through an electronic payment system. Typically, an individual will authorize a regular payment that doesn’t change from month to month, such as a mortgage or car payment. An individual may stop or delay automated …