Trustee Blog

Means Test New Form Dec. 1, 2014

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Dec. 1, 2014:  New means test forms today,

Take a look at the new forms as the Court clerk will start to ensure that the correct form is filed.

Today I attended a seminar on the means test conducted by the US Trustee’s office presented by Jennifer Braun, the Assistant US Trustee in Woodland Hills and Katherine Bunker, a Trial Attorney with the US Trustee’s Woodland Hills office.

The key take aways:

If you get an inquiry from the United States Trustee, respond quickly so UST Can close out her file, if there is nothing there to investigate.

If the presumption arises on the means test, file a declaration by the debtor. Place the declaration behind the means test to show the “changed circumstances”.

Below are the notes that I took.

Ms. Bruan detailed the procedure the UST uses to pursue a “presumed abuse”.

 

Safe Harbors

Below Median Income–no presumed . In the Riverside Division 80-85% of Bankruptcy filers are below the median income.

If the following three are claimed;

Disabled Veteran and incurred debt on Active Duty/Homeland Defense

Reservist or National Guardsmen on Active Duty?Homeland Defense

Primary Non-Consumer Debts

These categories are broken out in the new forms.

(This is something that the new forms 22a(1) sup. allows you “Statement of Exemption from Presumption of Abuse Under Section 707(b)(2)”

 

Calculation of income for the means test is when the income is received.

Example an actors works five years ago, but he receives residuals now. The income that is received within the last six months is what is placed in the means test. On the other hand, if it is earned in the six months, but paid after, then it is not included in the means test. (There are other places in the petition to detail this expectancy.)

Tax Refund and Loan Proceeds are not included in the calculation.

Current Monthly income (“CMI”) is defined in Section 101(10A)

Includes all income received regardless of when it was earned from all soruces, without respect to whether taxable, derived within the six calendar months before filing. See In re Miller, No. WY-14-002, 2014 Bankr. LEXIS 4301 (10th Cir. B.A.P. Oct. 8, 2014).

Ms. Bunk said the US Trustee’s position in expenses is similar to In re Lanning the chapter 13 case. “Generally, UST position is : expenses for CMI should be the estimated expenses a debtor will incur “going forward”.

In Part 2 of the new means test at line #5 “The number of people used in determining your deductions from income”. If this number of people is different than the first page of the means test, then the UST will send an inquiry letter.

She went into the deductions allowed in the means test.

Line 9 has the new breakdown of all the secured payments, this is what was placed on 42. (The same number is placed on line 33)

Interesting: if a debtor does not have a car. He can claim line 14 for public transportation, even if he does not use public transportation.

new presumption amount is $207.93. If the debtor has more than this amount, the presumption  arises.

If between $124.58 and $207.93, determine if monthly disposable income for 60 months will pay greater than 25% of unsecured debt, if so presumption arises. This is Schedule F debt only, not the unsecured portion of Schedule “D”.

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