Most debtors who want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must complete and pass the bankruptcy means test. But there are a few exceptions that can exempt you from taking the means test. You may be excluded from the means test requirement if:
For more information on how the means test works, see The Means Test in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
If the obligations you want to eliminate in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy are primarily (typically meaning more than 50%) non-consumer (business) debts, you are not required to complete the means test. Non-consumer debts are mostly obligations you incur in connection with a business or in an attempt to make a profit. But they can also include debts you did not intend to incur for personal purposes. Generally, if you intentionally take out a debt for personal, family, or household expenses or goods, it will be considered a consumer debt.
While there is no uniform rule on which obligations are considered non-consumer debts, courts typically look to the purpose of the debt when classifying it in bankruptcy. Many courts have held the following debts to be non-consumer in nature:
However, because courts differ in their opinions of what constitutes a non-consumer debt, consider talking to a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney in your area to learn the rules in your jurisdiction.
Disabled veterans whose debts were primarily incurred while on active duty or performing a homeland defense activity are exempt from taking the means test to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
To qualify as a disabled veteran for the purpose of this means test exception, you must:
If you are a military reservist or a National Guard member who was called to active duty after September 11, 2001, you may qualify for an exclusion from the means test requirement. If you were on active duty or performing a homeland defense activity for at least 90 days, you are exempt from completing the means test during that time and for 540 days thereafter.
However, this is typically a temporary exclusion. When the 540-day exclusion period comes to an end, you must complete the rest of the means test form within 14 days (unless the deadline for filing a motion to argue a means test presumption objection expires before the exclusion period ends).
See Bankruptcy Rules for Military Members for more information.