When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a packet of forms. On one of those forms, Schedule I -- Your Income, you list your income from all sources, and then calculate your current monthly income.
Read on to learn the purpose of Schedule I, how Schedule I differs from other bankruptcy forms that require income calculations, and where to get and how to complete the form.
(To learn about the other forms you must file in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.)
What Is the Purpose of Schedule I?
Schedule I, along with Schedule J, provides the court with a complete picture of your current income and expenses. In Chapter 7 cases, this information can help the court determine if your bankruptcy filing is an “abuse” (that is, you make too much money compared to your debt load and could possibly fund a Chapter 13 repayment plan). In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this information helps the court and creditors determine if your Chapter 13 plan is feasible, whether the plan is your “best effort,” and whether there is a reason to extend the plan beyond three years.
Income: Schedule I v. the Means Test Forms
When you file for bankruptcy, you must list income figures on other forms too. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must complete Form22-A: Statement of Your Current Monthly Income. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy you must Complete Form 22C-1: Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period. In those forms, you calculate your average monthly income in the six months before you file for bankruptcy. In contrast, on Schedule I you calculate your current monthly income.
It’s important to note that the monthly income figure may differ between the forms. For example, if you recently lost your job, the income figure on Form 22-A or 22-C will be higher than the current monthly income you will list on Schedule I.
Getting Schedule I
You can find the most recent version of Schedule I on the U.S. Court’s website at www.uscourts.gov. To learn more about getting the official and other forms, see The Bankruptcy Forms: Getting Started.
How to Complete Schedule I
On Schedule I you provide information about your employment, income from all sources, and anticipated income changes. The form clearly designates what information you need and where it goes.
Here are some tips and further information that you might need when completing the form:
Your Spouse’s Employment and Income
If you are filing jointly with your spouse, you include employment information and income for both you and your spouse. But even if you are filing alone (without your spouse) you still must list your spouse’s employment and income. The only exception is if you and your spouse are separated and not filing jointly.
Types of Income
Part 2 of Schedule I asks detailed questions about your gross monthly income from employment and your monthly payroll deductions. The form lists the most common types of payroll deductions (taxes, social security, insurance, and union dues), but in the “other” category you might list state disability taxes, wages withheld for child support, or credit union payments). From these figures, you calculate your net monthly income from employment. Even if you aren’t paid monthly, you show all totals as monthly payments.
The form then asks for other types of income, including:
- net income from the operation of a business or farm
- income from real property (real estate rentals, leases, or licenses, such as mineral exploration, oil, and the like)
- interest you receive from bank or security deposits and other investments, such as stocks
- payments from alimony, maintenance, and child support
- amounts you receive from Social Security, SSI, public assistance, disability payments, veterans’ benefits, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, or any other government benefit such as the value of food stamps
- pension or retirement income, and
- any other monthly income you receive on a regular basis (such as royalty payments or payments from a trust).
Calculating Combined Average Monthly Income
Follow the instructions on the form to calculate your total monthly income from all of your income sources.
Anticipated Income Increases or Decreases
The last question on Schedule I asks you to describe any anticipated income increases or decreases within the next year.
(To learn more about the filing process in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
This article provides general information only. There are many legal issues involved and important decisions to be made when filing for bankruptcy. You must understand the entire This article provides general information only. There are many legal issues involved and important decisions to be made when filing for bankruptcy. You must understand the entire bankruptcy process, learn about the applicable federal and state laws, and determine how those laws will affect your particular situation before you complete the bankruptcy forms. If you want to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, use a good do-it-yourself book like Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to ensure you make well informed decisions about your bankruptcy case.