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Should I Estimate My Income if I Haven't Filed Taxes Yet?

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In a Nutshell

If you do not have official tax documents, it is OK to estimate your gross income on your bankruptcy forms. To estimate your income accurately, look at your most recent pay statement and use it to find your year-to-date gross (before taxes) income.

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 22, 2021

If you haven't filed your taxes yet or don't have official tax documents when it comes time to file bankruptcy, it is OK to estimate your annual and monthly gross income. Your gross income is the total amount of money you made before taxes were taken out. If you do not feel comfortable estimating you can:

  1. Look for your year-to-date gross income on your most recent pay statement. Use this number to calculate your average annual and monthly income. You can see examples of how to do this from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

  2. Call or contact your employer's HR department or payroll manager and ask what your total gross income for the year was. It is fine to get this information over the phone. You will not need to provide documentation.

If you don't get pay statements from your job or if you get paid in cash, you still need to state your estimated annual and monthly income on your bankruptcy forms. You can estimate these amounts from memory or by looking at your bank statements and/or app ledgers (for jobs like Lyft, Uber, or MTurk).

Written By:

Jonathan Petts


Jonathan Petts has over 10 years of experience in bankruptcy and is co-founder and CEO of Upsolve. Attorney Petts has an LLM in Bankruptcy from St. John's University, clerked for two federal bankruptcy judges, and worked at two top New York City law firms specializing in bankrupt... read more about Jonathan Petts

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