When you file for bankruptcy, you must pay a filing fee. You might qualify for a fee waiver if you can't afford to pay this fee upfront or in installments. To find out, complete and file a fee waiver form along with your other bankruptcy forms.
Learn about completing the bankruptcy forms and other required paperwork.
If you don't have the funds to pay the filing fee now but you'll have money later, you can ask the court to allow you to pay it in installments. To do so, you'll complete the Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments (Form 103A) and request to pay the fee in up to four payments within 120 days of your bankruptcy filing date.
If you don't have the funds to pay the fee—even down the road—you'll qualify for a fee waiver if:
The fee waiver income limits are based on the official poverty guidelines last published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Even if you're within the poverty guidelines, you'll still have to state under penalty of perjury that you can't pay the fee in installments.
You can find the bankruptcy fee waiver income limits on the U.S. Court's website.
To complete the Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived (Form 103B), you must provide information about your family size, combined family income, monthly expenses, cash on hand, bank accounts, personal property, and real estate.
You'll use the information you provided on your bankruptcy schedules (the figures should be consistent). In particular, you'll need information from Schedule I (income), Schedule J (expenses), and Schedule A/B (property).
You must also provide information about:
The form also allows you to provide any other information that helps explain why you cannot pay the fee upfront or in installments.
The court can order one of the following things:
You'll find all bankruptcy forms on the U.S. Courts bankruptcy form webpage.
Did you know Nolo has been making the law easy for over fifty years? It's true—and we want to make sure you find what you need. Below you'll find more articles explaining how bankruptcy works. And don't forget that our bankruptcy homepage is the best place to start if you have other questions!
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We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer.