Tax Refunds Adjusted and Made Uniform Across Central District of California with Chapter 13 Plan Form Effective December 1, 2017
Every Chapter 13 client is required to provide a copy of their tax returns to both counsel and the Chapter 13 Trustee to analyze any changes and to account for any post-petition tax refunds that the client received or will receive.
The rule prior to December 1, 2017 varied in different jurisdictions, with some allowing clients to keep no refund and others allowing up to $1,500.
The new rule, Effective as of December 1, 2017, is that clients will get to keep a net refund of up to $500 before having to turn additional refund amounts over to the Chapter 13 Trustee. The "net refund" means that if you have a $2,000 State Tax Refund, but you owe the Internal Revenue Service $1,500, you will have a net of $500 in which you will be able to keep the entire amount.
There are several jurisdictions within the Central District of California with one or more Chapter 13 Trustees in each location.
Los Angeles: There are two possible Trustees that will be assigned your case in the Los Angeles Division: Kathy A Dockery or Nancy Curry. Both of their websites are helpful in setting up auto payments and providing general information about your case.
Riverside: Rod Danielson is the standing Trustee in the Riverside Division. His website provides access to your case data, a link for TFSbillpay (which is an epay option), and other helpful forms and links.
Santa Ana: Amrane Cohen is the standing Trustee in the Santa Ana Division. His website provides links to access your case so that you can see when your plan payment posts and where funds are being disbursed. The website also provides a questionnaire to see prior to the meeting of creditors and a link to epay.
San Fernando Valley and Northern: The standing Trustee in these divisions is Elizabeth Rojas. Her website provides additional information on where to send payments and setting up an auto-pay option after your plan is confirmed.
Typical Questions Asked By The Trustee at the 341 Meeting of Creditors
After you are seated in front of the Trustee, the Trustee will swear you in, ask you to state your name and address for the record, and then begin asking you questions.
Standard questions asked by the Trustee at the 341 Meeting include:
• Did you read the meeting questionnaire?
• Did you understand the questionnaire?
• Did you personally sign the petition and schedules?
• Did you read the schedules before signing?
• Did you list all of your assets?
• Did you list all of your debts?
• Are the schedules accurate?
• Do you want to make any corrections to the schedules?
• Have you lived in this state for the past two years?
• Do you owe anyone domestic support?
• How old are your dependents/children?
• Are you owed an income tax refund?
• Are your cars insured?
• Have you charged on your credit cards in the last 12 months?
• Have You ever filed bankruptcy before? If you did, did you receive a discharge? If so, when?
Answer the questions asked. If you are asked a Yes or No question, answer with a “yes” or “no.” Don’t
elaborate. Don’t answer questions not asked. If clarification is required with a "yes" or "no" answer, make it very short. Volunteering information will almost never help you.
The Trustee may also ask how you reached the values on your assets and for more information about unusual assets or business interests. If the Trustee needs more information or documents that aren't available at the meeting, the meeting may be continued until another date when the information can be provided and any questions answered.
Lastly, try to relax. The Trustee is not a judge and realizes that you may be nervous. Your attorney will
have your file and be able to assist you if any issues arise.
341 Meeting - Information"NEED TO KNOW" INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR 341 MEETING OF CREDITORS HEARING
What is the purpose of the 341 Meeting Of Creditors?
The purpose of the meeting is to ensure that you have fairly and honestly represented your assets, income and debts in your bankruptcy filing. You must appear at the meeting, and your attorney will be present with you. The Trustee assigned to your case will ask you questions about the contents of the bankruptcy schedules, and you will answer the questions under oath. You will not be asked to justify filing bankruptcy. It's strictly a fact-finding meeting. Creditors have the right to attend your hearing and ask you questions about your debts, however this is a rare occurrence. This meeting is informally called a "341 meeting" after section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code that requires it.
What Should I Expect?
The hearing room for the 341 Meetings is not a courtroom and a Judge will not be present. You should expect that there will be dozens of other people in the same room with you waiting for their name to be called by the Trustee. Immediately prior to your hearing time, your attorney will meet with you briefly to go over the procedure. Your attorney will ask you to read a pamphlet prepared by the court, and sometimes fill-out a standardized form provided by the Trustee. When the Trustee calls your name, you and your attorney will move to the table at the front of the room to be questioned by the Trustee under oath. Since the Trustee's questions are based on the information contained in your petition, you should review your petition the night before your hearing to reacquaint yourself with its contents. Your hearing should last approximately 5 minutes.
When Will My Meeting Of Creditors Hearing Be Scheduled?
Your hearing will be scheduled approximately four to five weeks after your petition is filed with the court.
What Should I Wear?
Dress business casual. Think along the lines of a nice pair of slacks, or skirt, with a collared shirt. This is a formal court proceeding, but in a more casual setting. You are having financial problems, which would suggest you do not have the resources to purchase a new suit, tie, etc. The goal is to blend in. Do not call attention to yourself or your case by the way you dress.
What Time Should I Arrive?
You should plan to meet your attorney right outside the meeting room at least 20 minutes before your scheduled Meeting of Creditors hearing time. Plan to give yourself enough time to find a parking spot, walk-up to the building (and get through security at some locations), find the meeting room, and meet your attorney.
What Do I Need To Bring With Me?
Bring your state issued identification (such as a valid driver's license) and proof of your social security number. The best way to prove your social security number is with your social security card. An original W-2 issued by your employer may substitute for your social security card - check with your attorney first about this. You do not need to bring anything else with you, unless directed to do so by your attorney.
Will I Have To Go Back To Court?
If you filed under Chapter 7, the Meeting of Creditors hearing should be your only required court appearance.
While each bankruptcy case is unique, there are certain items that any attorney will need to initially assess your specific financial circumstances and to provide potential solutions. When you come to our office for your free, initial consultation, we recommend that you bring documentation covering three areas – your income, assets, and debts. By reviewing this information, your attorney will be better able to offer accurate and applicable advice.
Lastly, bring your questions.
There may be additional documents your lawyer asks you to bring, but if you start with these top documents, you will be properly prepared for your first meeting. The more prepared you are, the more valuable you will find the consultation.
There are steps at the end of your case that are necessary to help you obtain your discharge. Depending on the Chapter of Bankruptcy that you are in and whether any liens were provisionally avoided, certain work will need to be done to help you successfully complete your case.
If you obtained a lien avoidance that is subject to a discharge order being entered, we need to either file an adversary proceeding (essentially a lawsuit within the bankruptcy to remove the lien) or in the alternative, some judges allow other procedures to formally avoid the lien after discharge without an adversary procedure.
Once you complete all plan payments and typically after the Trustee files a final report, we need to apply for a discharge, but we can't until you take your second course in Financial Management or Debtor Education. You can use the links under our Credit Counseling web page to take the second course. Make sure to type in the attorney code associated with the company you choose.
Our office will typically apply for interim or final compensation at this time but often the estate has already disbursed all funds and the Court will order a direct payment from the client.
*FROM TFS Email to Attorneys
USE TFS TO MAKE AND TAG A PAYMENT
Now that tax season is here, as a Chapter 13 client may have the onerous responsibility to make sure that one-time tax refund payment gets to the trustee on time.
TFS is here to help! With the Attorney Portal, you can assist your client in making a manual payment. Simply choose tax refund as a reason and track it for the future of their Chapter 13 payment plan, or just remind your clients that they can log in and schedule the payment themselves. REGISTER for the Attorney Portal, help avoid defaults now, and save yourself the stress of dealing with motions to dismiss later!
The general answer is that a client (Debtor) may be able to use bankruptcy reorganization to save a home from foreclosure that he or she is not liable on the loan. The way to do this is through a reorganization in either a Chapter 11 or a Chapter 13. This situation arises when you as the client inherit a home or parcel of real property that you want to salvage from foreclosure. Although there is no definitive 9th Circuit case law on it, other jurisdictions allow it and our office has had positive experiences with the tactic working with smooth confirmations of reorganization plans..