The Statement of Financial Affairs
Learn about the Statement of Financial Affairs, a bankruptcy form that provides information about your recent financial transactions.
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ALERT: As part of a multi-year court project to modernize the Official Bankruptcy Forms and make them more consumer-friendly, the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules has recently revised most of the consumer bankruptcy forms (several had already been revised in 2013 and 2014). The changes became effective on December 1, 2015. The revisions involved reformatting, renaming, and renumbering the forms, and in a few instances, combining two forms into one. You can find the new forms here: www.uscourts.gov/forms/bankruptcy-forms. We are in the process of revising all of our articles to comport with the new forms. Check back soon.
When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must file a form called the Statement of Financial Affairs (SFA). The SFA provides information to the trustee and your creditors about your recent financial transactions, such as your income, payments to creditors, sales or other transfers of property, and gifts you've made to others. The trustee will use this information to determine whether any of these transactions should be undone, so the property or money you transferred can be returned to your bankruptcy estate and paid out to your creditors.
You can get a copy of the SFA (also called the Official Bankruptcy Form B7), and the official instructions for completing it, on the U.S Courts website at www.uscourts.gov.
Information That All Debtors Must Provide on the SFA
All bankruptcy filers must complet the first 18 questions on the form. These questions ask you to list:
- income from all sources
- payments you've made to creditors before filing for bankruptcy
- garnishments, lawsuits, and other legal proceedings to which you've been a party
- repossessions, foreclosures, and assignments of property
- gifts you've made
- losses you've suffered due to fire, theft, or other casualty
- payments to a debt counseling agency or bankruptcy lawyer
- property you've transferred to someone else
- financial accounts you've closed, and so on.
The trustee will review this information carefully to determine whether any property or money you've listed should properly be part of your bankruptcy estate. For example, if you paid off a creditor just before filing for bankruptcy, that might constitute an illegal preference that the trustee can take back and distribute among all of your creditors. Similarly, if you gave away valuable property or sold it for much less than it's worth, the trustee might seek to void that transaction and take the property back into the bankruptcy estate. (To learn more, see The Clawback Provision and Preferential Transfers.)
Information That Business Owners Must Provide
If you have been in business during the six years before filing for bankruptcy, you will also have to complete questions 19 through 25. An individual filing for bankruptcy has been "in business" if that person is:
- an officer, director, managing executive, or owner of a corporation
- a partner in a partnership (other than a limited partner),
- or a sole proprietor or self-employed person.
If you have engaged in any trade, business, or other activity (except as an employee) to supplement income from a job, you will have to complete this part of the form.
This section requests information about your business's books, inventories, other owners (and former owners), and so on.
To learn about the other forms you must complete when filing for bankruptcy, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.