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What is the Bankruptcy Means Test in Tennessee?

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Written by Attorney Karra Kingston
Updated July 28, 2019

If you are burdened with debt and are thinking about filing a Tennessee bankruptcy, you are not alone. Hundreds of people in Tennessee file bankruptcy to help them get a fresh start every month. In 2018, Tennessee had the second most bankruptcy filings in the U.S. The number one reason people file for bankruptcy protection in Tennessee is unpaid medical bills. Filing a Tennessee bankruptcy can be a way to get you back on your feet and out of debt. Once you have determined that you want to move forward with filing bankruptcy, you will need to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee. In 2005, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Reform Act to prevent people from taking advantage of the system. The Means Test was implemented as a prerequisite to filing bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 Means Test made certain that only people who really needed Chapter 7 relief could file a Chapter 7 case. The Chapter 7 Means Test requires that every person is either below Tennessee’s median household income or has no disposable income after paying certain pre-approved expenses to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee. If your income falls below the limit, you pass the test without having to compare it to the allowed expenses. 

Tennessee Median Income Levels 

Tennessee Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed In 2022
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income

Discharge in Bankruptcy for Tennessee 

A Tennessee bankruptcy discharge, which is an order by the Bankruptcy Court, is the goal of every individual Tennessee bankruptcy case. Getting your debt discharged means you are no longer required to pay them. It also means that creditors are no longer allowed to contact you. In the unfortunate circumstance your case is dismissed or you are denied a discharge, then you are still responsible for paying your debts. It is important to note that not all debts are dischargeable. Some non-dischargeable debts include child support, student loans, and recent tax debts. This means that you will be obligated to pay these creditors even though you received a Tennessee bankruptcy discharge. It is important to understand that a discharge does not mean your bankruptcy case is closed. Your bankruptcy case usually closes sometime after a discharge is entered. Since a Tennessee bankruptcy discharge is your ultimate goal, it is important to make sure that you are on the right path to getting it. It is important to understand that a discharge is not an absolute right. If you are not honest, your discharge can be denied or even revoked after it’s been entered. You also must show the Court that you qualify for your discharge by completing the bankruptcy Means Test in Tennessee

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Tennessee Means Test Calculator

The Tennessee Means Test Calculator is used to determine whether you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To find out whether your income is below Tennessee’s median income, you need to calculate your family’s gross income based on the last six months. It’s important to make sure that you count your income from all sources. If you fall below the median income for a family of similar size in Tennessee, you pass the bankruptcy Means Test in Tennessee and are eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because there is no presumption that allowing you to do so would be an abuse of the system. However, if your income exceeds the limit, then you will need to complete the next portion of the Means Test. To help you with your calculations, you can locate a “Tennessee Means Test Calculator” online. The calculator will look at your disposable income to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are many calculators online that you can use to help you. It is important to make sure that you understand how to use these free Chapter 7 means test calculators and that the information they use is accurate. Figures for the Means Test are updated every few months and as a result, some online means test calculators may be outdated. You can use the Tennessee Means Test Calculatorfrom Upsolve to provide you with the most accurate information, as it’s always up-to-date. Upsolve is a nonprofit organization that helps Americans eliminate their debt on their own at no cost through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

What Happens If I Fail The Means Test for Tennessee?

If you fail the Chapter 7 bankruptcy Means Test in Tennessee, then you may want to start by reviewing your expenses on the second part of the Means Test, to make sure you calculated everything correctly. Even one number can throw off the calculation. If you believe that you have “failed” the bankruptcy Means Test in Tennessee after reviewing your information then you may want to speak with a local bankruptcy lawyer. A local bankruptcy lawyer can provide you with a professional evaluation to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and go over how it generally works. They can help you go over your expenses to make sure that you have accounted for everything. If your income is still too high, you may want to wait to file if your income will change in the future. Take advantage of free consultations provided by bankruptcy lawyers in your area so you can see if you qualify and learn more about your Tennessee bankruptcy options. If you still do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy then you may have to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Written By:

Attorney Karra Kingston


Ms. Kingston began her career as a bankruptcy attorney. She has appeared in front of many federal court judges and has helped numerous debtors obtain a fresh start. Ms. Kingston understands the complex federal rules for discharging debt. While working as a bankruptcy attorney, Ms... read more about Attorney Karra Kingston

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