Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Shreveport, LA

 
 
 
scale - attorney in in Shreveport, LA
 
Chapter 13 Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income:

1.Chapter 13 is designed for individuals with regular income who would like to pay all or part of their debts in installments over a period of time. You are only eligible for Chapter 13 if your debts do not exceed certain dollar amounts set forth in the bankruptcy code.
 
2.Under Chapter 13, you must file with the court a plan to repay your creditors all or part of the money that you owe them using your future earnings. The period allowed by the court to repay your debts may be three years or five years, depending upon your income and other factors. The court must approve your plan before it takes effect.

3.After completing the payments under your plan, your debts are generally discharged except for domestic support obligations, most student loans, certain taxes (detailed discussion with attorney), most criminal fines and restitution obligations, certain debts which are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers, certain debts for acts that caused death or personal injury and certain long-term secured obligations.

IMPORTANT FEATURES OF CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY:

  • If you are eligible, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is very powerful and available for individuals only. You can use it to stop a house foreclosure, make up the missed mortgage payments and keep the house. You can also pay off back taxes through your Chapter 13 plan and stop interest from accruing on your tax debt.
  • Filing your papers with the bankruptcy court stops creditors in their tracks. When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy (or any other kind of bankruptcy), something called the automatic stay goes into effect. It immediately stops your creditors from trying to collect what you owe them. At least temporarily, creditors cannot legally grab (garnish) your wages, empty your bank account, go after your car, house or other property or cut off your utility service or welfare benefits.
  • Some people use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to buy time. For example, if you are behind on mortgage payments and about to be foreclosed on, you can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy papers to stop collection efforts and then attempt to sell the house before the foreclosure. However, unless there is substantial equity in the house, this effort is a waste of time. You must resume monthly mortgage payments on your home mortgage and propose a plan to cure the mortgage arrearage.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires discipline. For the entire length of your case (three to five years), you will have to live under a strict budget; the bankruptcy court will not let you spend money on anything it deems non-essential. Payments may be deducted from your wages during your case. If you have a regular job with regular income, the bankruptcy court will probably order that the monthly payments under your Chapter 13 plan be automatically deducted from your wages and sent to the bankruptcy court.
  • Bankruptcy rules vary from court to court. Bankruptcy law comes from the federal Congress and is meant to be uniform across the country. But when disputes arise about the bankruptcy laws, bankruptcy courts make the decisions, and they don't all decide the issues in the same way. The result is that bankruptcy law and practice vary significantly from court to court and from region to region. The best advice is to hire a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney who practices in the court that will decide the case.
 

Tax Debts and Bankruptcy

State and Federal Income Taxes

1.General rule is that federal and state income taxes owed on a timely filed tax return may be discharged in bankruptcy of personal liability if the bankruptcy petition is filed more than three years after the tax agency assessed the income tax.

2.If the tax return was not timely filed, the time period for discharging the income taxes are different. Discuss your specific facts with an attorney.

3.If the tax return has not been filed then the income taxes cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Also if the tax returns are not filed then you may be charged with the crime of tax evasion.

4.You may desire to repay a non-dischargeable tax through a Chapter 13 reorganization, where applicable, to avoid seizures of assets and allow a more reasonable payment schedule. If there are no tax liens, or if the tax liens do not attach to equity in property, then this non-dischargeable tax may be repaid through a Chapter 13 without interest. Discuss your specific facts with an attorney.
 
Withholding & FICA Taxes
The penalty assessed to individuals for failure to withhold from employee wages and pay to the Internal Revenue Service the individual withholding taxes, and FICA taxes, are penalties that are not discharged in bankruptcy. However, you may desire to repay the tax through a Chapter 13 reorganization, where applicable, to avoid seizures of assets and allow a more reasonable payment schedule. If there are no tax liens, or it the tax liens do not attach to equity in property, then this non-dischargeable tax may be repaid through a Chapter 13 without interest.

Tax Liens
Personal liability for certain taxes may be discharged in bankruptcy, but the tax lien on the debtor's property may remain. There are different means of resolving tax liens, but generally the solution will involve paying the tax agency the value of the property subject to the tax lien.

  • Tax Seizures of Property & Wages
    The tax agencies will finally seize property, bank accounts and wages to pay tax liabilities owed to the tax agency. A bankruptcy petition may prevent and reverse a tax seizure. Even if the tax problems have progressed to a tax seizure, the debtor still has legal options available to him.
 

THERE ARE BENEFITS AND DETRIMENTS TO ANY BANKRUPTCY, AND YOU SHOULD SEEK PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING BEFORE FILING A BANKRUPTCY. RALPH SCOTT BOWIE IS A BOARD-CERTIFIED CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY AND A BOARD-CERTIFIED BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY, CERTIFIED BY BOTH THE AMERICAN BOARD OF CERTIFICATION AND THE LOUISIANA BAR ASSOCIATION BOARD OF LEGAL SPECIALIZATION. WHEN YOU ARE CONSIDERING HIRING A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHICH ATTORNEYS HAVE MET THE STRINGENT STANDARDS FOR CERTIFICATION AS AN ATTORNEY. WHY SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS? CALL US IN SHREVEPORT AT 318-221-0600, OR IF YOU ARE OUT OF TOWN CALL US ON OUR TOLL FREE NUMBER 1-800-256-9470 FOR AN INITIAL FREE CONSULTATION TO DISCUSS OPTIONS IN BANKRUPTCY TO RESOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS.