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Bonus Season?

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In a Nutshell

‘Tis the time of year when some employers pay out bonuses to their employees. If you’re expecting a bonus - congratulations, that’s awesome! But, you probably have some questions on how this impacts your bankruptcy filing, especially if you were planning on filing soon.

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated December 4, 2020


Happy person with money in their hand and floating around them.

‘Tis the time of year when some employers pay out bonuses to their employees. If you’re expecting a bonus - congratulations, that’s awesome! But, you probably have some questions on how this impacts your bankruptcy filing, especially if you were planning on filing soon. 

If you receive the bonus the same month you’re filing in… 

… then it’s not counted on the means test. For more on how your income is calculated for means test purposes, check out the linked sections in our articles on the income limits and the means test calculation.

… it’s an asset that you have to list on A/B. This of course sounds more complicated than it needs to. What it really means is that you have to make sure to update your bank account balance on your Schedule A/B

Next, you’ll want to make sure that the full amount in your bank account is protected by an exemption. The best way to do that using your Schedule C is explained in this article

If you plan on filing next month…

… your bonus income is included in the means test analysis and may cause your income to exceed the median income for your state. If that’s the case, and you can’t wait to file until the bonus “falls off” again, it’s best to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer in your area. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to file (with or without a lawyer). But, to avoid having to file multiple cases, you’ll want to make sure right out of the gate. 



Written By:

Attorney Andrea Wimmer

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Andrea practiced exclusively as a bankruptcy attorney in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team as Managing Editor. While in private practice, Andrea handled... read more about Attorney Andrea Wimmer

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