Help with Bankruptcy Forms: Schedule I - Current Income of Individual Debtor(s)s

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Schedule I deals with current income of debtors, either joint or single. It's important to be completely honest when entering the requested information so as to not raise any flags. Some filers may have the temptation to understate their income which is an absolutely bad idea. Those who are unsure of what to do may find some help from the following information.

Preparing for Filling Out Schedule I

Have any and all income statements at hand. This includes pay stubs, business income, social security and pensions. Find anything that generates a monthly income for entry on the schedule. It doesn't matter how much or how little or how embarrassed you may be by entering the information. Giving the trustee a complete snapshot of a month's worth of income is necessary for a successful 341 hearing.

Fill Out The Personal Information

At the top of the form, you are asked to enter your name, marital status and any dependents. Fill in your place of work with the address and the workplace of a spouse. Spousal information must be entered even in a married filing separate case. In the case there is no spouse but a roommate or a partner who is providing support, enter their information.

Questions One Through Six

Here is where you'll be working with your pay stubs to determine the amounts. Take the most recent month's worth of income and total it up. Enter it on line 1. The same goes for the partner or spouse providing support. Next, add up all payroll deductions for that month and enter them on the appropriate lines. Do the math as asked in questions five and six. Independent contractors will enter their estimated taxes for that month.

Questions Seven Through Thirteen

All of the questions are related to any other form of earned income apart from wages. If there is money coming in from any of the sources listed, enter the information. If there is no income, enter a zero to indicate that there is nothing to report.

Questions Fourteen Through Sixteen

Again, do the math as required by the form. Total all of the income for both parties and enter it on line 16.

Question Seventeen

If you have a job and you are aware that you may be losing it for any reason, state so here. If you're unemployed and anticipate being hired in the near future, enter the information. Make some kind of statement for any or no change in your income. Do not just leave the question blank.

What Not to do on Schedule I

There may be a temptation to understate income in a chapter 7 to make the financial situation look worse than it really does. The reality is, this can only serve to make things worse for the filer. Any appearance of fraud will give the trustee pause and potentially hold up a bankruptcy case. It may even get the entire case a denial of discharge. Simply put, do not do it. Honesty in a bankruptcy case is what makes for a successful conclusion.

Legal Assistance

Simply stated, bankruptcy is a complicated process. The rules of the court must be followed to the letter or you'll see your case dismissed. You then will be starting over from the beginning. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer is your best advocate as well as the best person to guide you through the forms and schedules. It is in your best interests to hire an attorney for a successful discharge.

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