Every year, several people in Virginia decide to file for bankruptcy, be it Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, and during the process, they try to prepare for every eventuality so as not to be surprised later down the road. Accordingly, they work with their lawyers, trying to make the filing process as smooth as possible, and one of the questions many of them wonder about is whether filing for bankruptcy will cause the IRS to audit them.
Virginia residents who are looking to file for bankruptcy will generally consider Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 protection. Chapter 7 cases are referred to as liquidation bankruptcies as they involve selling nonexempt property to raise capital to pay off debts. Any balances that remain after assets are liquidated are usually discharged. The entire process takes as little as four months to complete, but not all debtors will qualify for Chapter 7 protection.
Virginia residents seeking relief under the nation's bankruptcy laws generally file Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7 petitions for one of two reasons. They could file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because they have assets, such as a home, that they wish to protect, or they may be unable to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy because their income prevents them from passing the Chapter 7 means test. Individuals who earn more than the median income in their state are generally unable to pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Medical debt is the top reason why people file for bankruptcy according to a Nerdwallet report. Data from Consumer Reports found that 30 percent of those who had insurance had unpaid medical bills. While such debt can be a financial nuisance for Virginia residents, failure to pay may not have a negative impact on a person's credit score. However, this depends on the type of scoring system a lender uses.
When most people in Virginia hear about bankruptcy, the first inclination is to think of it as an action taken by a failing business. While some businesses buried in debt do explore this option, bankruptcy is also becoming an increasingly common step taken by individuals and families looking to get a break from overwhelming debt. According to one study, more older adults are filing for bankruptcy to deal with significant debt under certain circumstances.
More than $23 billion in credit card debt is 30 days or more overdue in Virginia and across the U.S., according to a report published by finance site NerdWallet. Missing credit card payments triggers late payment fees, and falling 60 days or further behind might mean paying penalty APR. On some cards the penalty APR may be as high as 29.99 percent.
Debtors in Virginia understand that filing for bankruptcy might relieve their debt burdens and help them regain control of their financial lives. Although thousands of people approach bankruptcy courts every year in the state, the process requires careful attention to detail. Incomplete financial disclosures and skipping credit counseling frequently causes delays in bankruptcy cases or gets them thrown out of court altogether.
Debt isn't only a serious problem for older generations in Virginia. According to a survey of 2,000 young adults by a leading bank and brokerage firm, individuals ranging in age from 16 to 20, referred to as Generation Z, have an average debt of just over $4,300. Their young millennial counterparts, who range in age from 21 to 25, have an average debt of nearly $12,000, which is largely fueled by college loan and credit card debt.
Consumers in Virginia and around the country pay more than $100 billion in credit card fees and interest each year according to figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That figure looks certain to rise in the years ahead as the U.S. Federal Reserve pushes interest rates higher to keep inflation under control. The central bank has already increased borrowing costs twice in 2018, and two more rate hikes have been promised. Experts say that these increases will cost American consumers $110 billion in additional credit card fees and interest.
Mortgage, auto loan and credit card debts are among those that Virginia residents and others may be entitled to discharge in bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, assets are liquidated with the money used to repay creditors. It is important to note that not all assets are liquidated as individuals are allowed to keep whatever they need to get to work or otherwise earn a living.