When you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must complete a packet of forms and submit it to the bankruptcy court. Schedule I is one of the forms where you list your current income. You must provide accurate information or risk a possible dismissal of your case. To ensure your information is accurate, you should gather your pay stubs and documentation of other sources of income, such as business income, Social Security benefits, child or spousal support, and pensions. Anything that generates a monthly income must be included, no matter how small the amount.
Two Different Income Amounts?
Schedule I is supposed to reflect your actual monthly income, less payroll deductions, at the time you file for bankruptcy. On another bankruptcy form (Form 22A, 22B, or 22C, depending on which type of bankruptcy you file), you will have to provide what the bankruptcy law calls your "current" monthly income, for purposes of determining whether you pass the means test. Although it's referred to as "current," this second amount is supposed to reflect your average income over the six months before you file for bankruptcy. If you've had any changes in your income during that time (for example, because you lost your job, stopped receiving spousal support, or gotten a raise), the two forms may show different income figures. That's fine, as long as both are accurate.
Filling Out Bankruptcy Schedule I
You must include all of your income on Schedule I, whether it's hourly wages, government assistance, or a small income from an at-home business. If you are married, you must include the same information for your spouse, whether you file jointly or separately.
On Line 4 of the form, you subtract from your gross compensation any payroll deductions, such as tax withholding, insurance, union dues, payments for state disability insurance, and so on. This will leave you with your net take-home pay.
Lines 7 through 13 are for other income. This income may be from dividends, a business, or rental properties. You should also list annuities, social security, alimony, and maintenance. You must list these amounts even if you plan to claim that they are exempt in your bankruptcy case.
Lines 14 through 16 require you to enter both individual and combined totals. Place the final total on line 16.
On line 17, you should provide information regarding any anticipated increase or decrease in future income. These changes may include raises, bonuses, commissions, reductions in overtime, or even an impending layoff.