Here is a definitive list of bankruptcy regulations. If you are considering bankruptcy, you should first consider how the strict bankruptcy regulations will impact your life. Bankruptcy has many restrictions and regulations which could impact your home, your job and your credit file. Read on for our definitive list of Bankruptcy Regulations to determine how they will impact you.
Regulations Over Your Assets
When you declare Bankruptcy, restrictions are placed on the value of assets you may own. This is because you have declared to your creditors that you don’t have enough wealth, either in cash or assets to repay what you owe. So anything worth more than a set threshold will be sold, with the money being distributed to your creditors.
You will be able to keep most household items and possessions such as TVs, furniture and appliances. You can keep a car or motorbike up to the value of $7,700 (wholesale value) and you can keep tools used for work up to the value of $3,750. Other assets, such as antiques and valuable jewellery may be taken. If you have tax debts and you are eligible for a tax refund during your period of Bankruptcy, your refund may be retained and offset against the debts you owe the Commonwealth.
Regulations on Your Income and Employment
There are no income restrictions while you are bankrupt. However, if you start to earn over a set threshold, you will be required to pay a contribution to your creditors. The income thresholds are laid out in the Indexed Amounts and increase according to your dependants. The contributions are reviewed each year and if you earn over the threshold you need to pay 50c for each dollar over the threshold to your creditors.
As a bankrupt, you can not be the director of or operate a company so it may impact your business. Certain licensed industries, such as real estate agents and financial professionals won’t allow you to continue working if you are bankrupt. You should check with your industry union to check how bankruptcy will impact your employment.
Debts Included in Your Bankruptcy
Most unsecured debts can be included in your Bankruptcy, but there are some debts that you must continue to pay outside of your Bankruptcy. Debts which can be included are:
- Credit Card Debts
- Unsecured Personal Loans
- Disconnected utility bills
- Payday Loans
- Personal Tax and GST Debts
- Repossessed car loans
- Centrelink debts
When you declare bankruptcy you must list ALL your debts in your Statement of Affairs, this includes debts you owe to family members, joint debts and debts you will still need to pay while you are bankrupt. Your Trustee will let you know which debts will still need to be paid, but these include:
- Debts incurred by fraud
- Utilities you are still using such as electricity and water. Failing to make the repayments on these debts will result in disconnection of these services.
- Court imposed penalties and fines
- Student assistance/supplement loans (HELP – Higher Education Loan Program/HECS – Higher Education Contribution Scheme/SFSS – Student Financial Supplement Scheme)
- Child Support Payments
- New debts you incur after your bankruptcy commences.
Secured Debts such as mortgages and car loans are not included in a Bankruptcy. If you can not maintain the repayments on these loans, your creditors are within their rights to reposes the property to recover lost funds.
Regulations on Your Ability to Travel Overseas
Before you can travel overseas, you must apply for permission from your Trustee. You must pay an application fee to your Trustee who may accept or reject your request. If your trustee believes you have a legitimate purpose to travel overseas they will give you written permission which allows you to travel.
The Impact Bankruptcy has on Your Credit File
Declaring Bankruptcy will have a long term effect on your credit file. Your ability to obtain future credit will be effected and your name will be listed on the National Personal Insolvency Index forever. A term of bankruptcy will generally last for 3 years and 1 day, but this may be extended by your trustee in certain circumstances. During this time, it will be noted on your credit file that you are a bankrupt and you may find it very difficult to borrow any money. If you need to borrow lease or hire goods and services more than $5,507 you must disclose that you are a bankrupt.
Once you have been discharged from your bankruptcy, it will remain on your credit file that you are a discharged bankrupt for a further 5 years. You might still find it difficult to apply for traditional loans in this time. There are specialists non-conforming lenders and brokers who might be able to assist you during this time. Your name will remain on the National Personal Insolvency Index for life. This is a public record and can be accessed by anyone for a fee. If you were to enter a part 9 Debt Agreement, your name is removed from the index once the agreement is over.
Complying with Bankruptcy Regulations
Once your bankruptcy application has been accepted by the official receiver you will be assigned a Bankruptcy Trustee. This Trustee will work with you throughout the period of bankruptcy and beyond to ensure you comply with the regulations and restrictions of bankruptcy.
The Trustee will go through your finances to ensure the information you provided in your Statement of Declaration is true and correct. They will also investigate the sale of any assets before you applied for bankruptcy and take possession of an sell your assets outside of the bankruptcy thresholds. You must report any changes in your circumstances to your Trustee and apply through them if you wish to go overseas. Most often, your Trustee will be appointed by AFSA.
The Next Step
If you think Bankruptcy is the best course of action for you to get out of debt, call Debt Rescue on 1800 003 328. You can speak to one of our professional Case Managers about your specific situation and we can help you determine how bankruptcy will impact you. We offer a number of options for people wanting to declare bankruptcy allowing you to do it yourself with our professional guidance or we can take the reigns and to it all for you. There may be other options available to help you get out of debt. These include a Part 9 Debt Agreement, a Debtstroyer Agreement or even debt consolidation through a mortgage refinance.
For more information on Bankruptcy, check out our Bankruptcy page here.