Most individual debtors filing for bankruptcy relief are required to complete either Official Bankruptcy Form 22A or 22C (Statement of Current Monthly Income and calculations). Bankruptcy Form 22A is the form chapter 7 debtors will complete for “means testing” purposes; Form 22C is the form chapter 13 debtors will complete. [The Official Bankruptcy Forms can be found on the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Web site.]

A debtor must enter income and expense information onto the appropriate form (i.e., Form 22A or Form 22C)and then make calculations using the information entered. Some of the information needed to complete these forms, such as a debtor’s current monthly income, comes from the debtor’s own personal records. However, other information needed to complete the forms comes from the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).   Some of the allowable expense items required on Form 22A and Form 22C have been revised.

Effective January 1, 2008, there are new National Standards for five necessary expenses: food, housekeeping supplies, apparel and services, personal care products and services, and miscellaneous. Those updated standards can be found on the Internal Revenue Service’s website.   Also on January 1, 2008, new standards take effect for Pennsylvania housing and utility expenses. The Pennsylvania standards can also be found on the on the Internal Revenue Service’s website.  If the standards are not high enough to cover your actual budget then you will need to provide documentation as to what you really spend.