April 11, 2017
If you live in Idaho and want to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are a number of steps you must take, including participating in credit counseling and debtor education, completing the bankruptcy petition and other required forms, and filing those forms in an Idaho bankruptcy court.
Because federal law primarily governs bankruptcy, the general bankruptcy filing process in Idaho is similar to other states. However, there is some Idaho-specific information you'll need to include on your bankruptcy forms, such as the Idaho bankruptcy exemptions.
(For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
In order to qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must show that you received credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in Idaho within the six month period before you file for bankruptcy. You’ll also have to take a debtor education course before you get a bankruptcy discharge. (To learn more about this requirement, including the rare exceptions, see Credit Counseling & Debtor Education Requirements in Bankruptcy.)
Idaho has a set of bankruptcy exemptions that help determine the property you'll get to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The exemptions also play a role in the amount you'll repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Unlike in some states, Idaho does not allow you to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. You must use the Idaho state exemptions.
To learn about Idaho’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Idaho and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Idaho. To find other Idaho exemptions, see Idaho Bankruptcy Exemptions.
When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a bankruptcy petition, a number of schedules containing detailed information about your finances, and several other forms, including a lengthy form known as the “means test” (for Chapter 7) and a similar form for Chapter 13.
(For a list of the forms you must complete, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.)
When you file for bankruptcy in Idaho, you must take the "means test" and compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Idaho. If your income is less than the median, you will be eligible to file for Chapter 7 and, if you choose to file for Chapter 13, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years).
If your income is above Idaho’s median income, you still might qualify for Chapter 7, but you’ll have to provide detailed information about your expenses and payments on secured debts in order to find out. Most Chapter 13 filers also have to provide this information.
For information about each of these forms, see:
Here’s how to find the Idaho-specific figures for the means test forms:
Idaho median income figures. For a one-person household in Idaho (as of April 1, 2017), the median income is $46,799. For a family of three, the Idaho median income is $57,240. Be aware that these figures change several times per year.
Example. Bill’s annual income is $45,000. He lives alone. He will automatically pass the means test because his income is below $46,799.
Standard deductions. Forms 122A-1 and 122C-1 have a comprehensive list of expense categories, such as housing, transportation, food, and childcare. For some of those categories (like childcare), you provide the actual amount you spend. For others, you plug in a predetermined amount. Sometimes that figure is standard for the whole country, other times it varies by county or region.
You can find Idaho’s state, county, and region-specific figures for Forms 122A-1 and 122C-1 on the U.S. Trustee’s website. Look to the menu bar on the left side and pick the appropriate selection.
Some judicial districts and bankruptcy courts require bankruptcy filers to complete additional “local forms.” To find out if your court requires additional forms, contact the bankruptcy filing clerk. Some courts post these forms online on the court’s website. (Below you’ll find a link to Idaho’s bankruptcy courts.)
Since there is only one judicial district in Idaho (see below for the link), you don’t need to worry about the rules for filing in the correct judicial district.