Before Filing Bankruptcy Timeline

Caution: This timeline does not include all bankruptcy events. It is a summary description of bankruptcy and may not be accurate under all circumstances. You should consult a qualified attorney to see how the law will apply to your situation.

Who or what is a debtor? The debtor is the person or other entity that has filed the bankruptcy, and owes money to the creditors.

8 Years Before Bankruptcy Filed
Prior bankruptcy prevents Chapter 7 discharge
A debtor cannot receiving a discharge under Chapter 7 if he or she received a discharge in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy which was filed within 8 years before the present case is filed.

6 Years Before Bankruptcy Filed
Prior bankruptcy prevents Chapter 7 discharge
A debtor cannot receive a discharge under Chapter 7 if he or she received a discharge in a Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy which was filed within 6 years before the present case is filed.

4 Years Before Bankruptcy Filed
Prior bankruptcy prevents Chapter 13 discharge
A debtor cannot receive a discharge under Chapter 13 if he or she received a discharge in a Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 12 bankruptcy which was filed within 4 years before the present case is filed.

Note: In some circumstances a Chapter 13 may be of significant benefit even if a discharge will not be received.

3 Years Before Bankruptcy Filed
Taxes on returns due not discharged in Chapter 7
Taxes based on income or gross receipts for which a return (if required) was due within 3 years prior to the filing of the petition are not discharged in Chapter 7. The date due includes any extensions, i.e., if the April 15 due date for income tax is extended to October 15 the later date will be used determining if the 3 year period has been passed. The 3 year period may be extended by any time in a bankruptcy plus an additional 6 months.

Penalties for taxes not discharged (above), tax penalties regarding a transaction within 3 years of filing, and government fines and forfeitures are not discharged.
Debt incurred to pay taxes not discharged (above) are not discharged.

2 Years Before Bankruptcy Filed
Prior bankruptcy prevents Chapter 13 discharge
A debtor cannot receive a discharge under Chapter 13 if he or she received a discharge in a Chapter 13 which was filed within 2 years before the present case is filed.

Note: In some circumstances a Chapter 13 may be of significant benefit even if a discharge will not be received.

Taxes on returns filed late not discharged in Chapter 7
Taxes for which returns (if required) were not filed or were filed within 2 years of the filing of the petition.

Penalties for taxes not discharged (above), are not discharged.
Debt incurred to pay taxes not discharged (above) are not discharged.

Transfers & obligations to hinder, delay, or defraud or done when insolvent set aside
The Trustee may recover property the debtor transferred and avoid obligations the debtor incurred which were done within 2 years before the bankruptcy, if the transfer or obligation were undertaken with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any entity, or when the debtor was insolvent.

1 Year Before Bankruptcy Filed
Transfer, concealment or destruction of property prevents discharge in Chapter 7
The court may deny a discharge of all debt if the debtor attempted to hinder, delay or defraud a creditor through the transfer, removal, destruction, mutilation, or concealment property within one year prior to the Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Payment to relative or insider is a Preference
A total of $600 or more in money or property which is paid to a creditor that is a relative or insider (certain business associates) within a year prior to filing is a preference. The Trustee may recover preferences and divide the money between all creditors. (In Chapter 13, the debtor may be able to prevent the Trustee from going after the relative by increasing the amount paid into the plan.)

240 Days Before Bankruptcy Filed
Taxes assessed not discharged in Chapter 7
Taxes assessed within 240 days prior to the filing of the petition are not discharged in Chapter 7. If an offer in compromise was pending, the 240 days will be extended by the days that it was pending, plus 30 days. If a stay against collections was in effect under a prior bankruptcy, the 240 days will be extended for the time collection was stayed plus 90 days.

Penalties for taxes not discharged (above), are not discharged. Debt incurred to pay taxes not discharged (above) are not discharged.
180 Days Before Bankruptcy Filed
Dismissal of prior bankruptcy prevents filing Chapter 7 or 13.
The debtor may not file any bankruptcy if he or she filed a previous bankruptcy which was dismissed in the preceding 180 days either (1) on the court’s order because of your willful failure to obey orders of the court or to appear in court when required; or (2) at the debtor’s request after the filing of a request for relief from the automatic stay.

90 Days Year Before Bankruptcy Filed
Minimum state residency requirement
The debtor must have resided in the state where the bankrupctcy is filed for the 90 days preceding the filing. If the debtor has not resided in the state that long, the debtor must file in the state where he or she has resided, or has had his or her principal place of business or which has been the location of his or her principal assets for the majority of the last 180 days.

Payment to creditor is a preference
A total of $600 or more in money or property which is paid to a creditor within 90 days prior to filing is a preference. The Trustee may recover preferences and divide the money between all creditors. (In Chapter 13, the debtor may be able to prevent the trustee from going after the creditor by increasing the amount paid into the plan.)

Consumer debt presumed to be nondischargeable
Consumer debts owed to a single creditor and aggregating more than $550 for luxury goods or services incurred by an individual debtor on or within 90 days before the bankruptcy is filed are presumed to be nondischargeable in Chapter 7. 11

Communication by creditor requires specific case notice to specific address
Communication from creditor to the debtor within the 90 days before the bankruptcy, requires use of specific address creditor has given in bankruptcy notices.

70 Days Year Before Bankruptcy Filed
Debt presumed to be nondischargeable
Cash advances aggregating more than $750 (added by BAPCPA 10-17-05) that are extensions of consumer credit under an open end credit plan obtained by an individual debtor on or within 70 days before the bankruptcy are presumed to be non-dischargeable.

Bankruptcy Filed
Commencement of Case
A voluntary bankruptcy is commenced when you file a petition with the Bankruptcy Court requesting protection from your creditors under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. A husband and wife may file one petition together and commence a joint case.

The filing also puts a stay under 11 USC ยง362 into effect prohibiting collection actions.