Bankruptcy Schedules: Schedule I

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Gregory W. Mitchell

Gregory W. Mitchell



Gregory Mitchell joins Freeman Law to lead its bankruptcy practice. Mr. Mitchell is a native of the Dallas area, graduating from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 1991 and with his J.D. in 1994. In 1995, he obtained an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University. Mr. Mitchell currently directs the SMU Dedman School of Law’s federal taxpayer clinic. Mr. Mitchell’s background in tax makes him a natural fit for Freeman Law.

Prior to joining Freeman Law, Mr. Mitchell was the managing partner of The Mitchell Law Firm, L.P., a small firm he started in 2004, where he ran a diverse practice primarily focused on bankruptcy, tax and related litigation matters.

Prior to starting his own firm, Mr. Mitchell served as a Partner and General Counsel with Tax Automation, L.P., a national tax consulting firm. Mr. Mitchell was previously the National Director of Tax Technology at Ryan & Company, a national tax consulting practice, as well as a Senior Manager with KPMG, a “Big Four” accounting firm.

Continuing with our series on bankruptcy schedules, today we look at Schedule I, which is used to provide information about your income.  This form provides a variety of purposes in bankruptcy cases – depending on the chapter under which the case was filed.  Typically, Schedule I is analyzed in conjunction with Schedule J, which is the schedule related to a debtor’s expenses.  But because of the importance of each of these schedules, they will be the subject of separate blogs.

In a chapter 7 case, Schedule I helps the bankruptcy trustee determine your ability to repay your debts.  In order to qualify as a chapter 7 debtor, most debtors must have income in an amount less than the mean income for similarly situated people (i.e., those with the same number of dependents) in the area in which they live.  If a debtor’s income is less than the mean, then there is no presumption of abuse, and that debtor can proceed under chapter 7.  If a debtor has income above the mean, then a second level of analysis looks more closely at the types of debts that the debtor has, and based on that analysis, it may be found that there is no presumption of abuse despite the slightly higher income.  Finally, if the debtor has above-mean income and cannot satisfy the 2nd level of analysis, then a presumption of abuse arises that the debtor has not filed chapter 7 in good faith.  This is a rebuttable presumption that a debtor would have to rebut with evidence explaining to the bankruptcy court why, despite the above-mean income, that the case is not an abuse.  Certain exceptions to the Means Test exist, such as a situation where the majority of the debtor’s debts are considered business debts.  Ultimately, if a debtor is unable to overcome the presumption of abuse, then the only bankruptcy option is to instead file for chapter 13, which involves at least some payment to the debtor’s creditors.

In a Chapter 13 case, Schedule I, in conjunction with Schedule J (related to a debtor’s expenses) is used to determine how much a debtor is able to pay under a chapter 13 repayment plan.  Ultimately, in order to be able to confirm a chapter 13 plan, a debtor must be able to pay at least the amount of their “disposable income,” as determined by schedules I and J.  As a result, Schedule I takes on additional importance in a chapter 13 case.

Step 1: Gather Information About Your Income

Before you can start filling out Schedule I, you’ll need to gather information about your income.  This may include pay stubs, tax returns, and other documentation that shows how much money you earn.  If you are self-employed, you will need to prepare financial statements.  It doesn’t have to be formal financial statements, but it should at least contain a listing of your revenue, along with your expenses, that reveals a net amount of income that you earn.

Step 2: List Your Income

Once you have all of the necessary information, you can start listing your income on Schedule I.  For each source of income, you’ll need to provide the following information:

Step 3: Complete the Form

Once you’ve listed all of your income sources on Schedule I, you or your attorney will need to complete the rest of the form. This includes providing your name, case number, and other basic information, as well as signing the form to certify that the information you’ve provided is true and accurate.

Step 4: Review and File

After you’ve completed Schedule I, review it carefully to make sure everything is accurate and complete. Once you’re satisfied with the form, you or your attorney must file it with the bankruptcy court, along with the rest of your bankruptcy paperwork.

Schedule I is an important part of the bankruptcy process. By following these steps and seeking the guidance of a bankruptcy attorney if needed, you can ensure that your income is accurately listed, and that your bankruptcy case proceeds smoothly.




Bankruptcy Schedules


Bankruptcy Attorneys

Need assistance in managing the bankruptcy process? Freeman Law attorneys offer unique cross-disciplinary expertise in taxation, litigation, and forensic accounting and asset tracing, positioning the Firm to handle complex bankruptcy litigation on behalf of debtors, creditors, and trustees, as well as bankruptcy taxation matters. Our Firm offers value-driven services and provides practical solutions to navigate complex bankruptcy laws. Contact Freeman Law to schedule a consultation or call (214) 984-3000 to discuss your tax or bankruptcy concerns.