Small Business Filing Bankruptcy

Small business bankruptcy may be the most responsible way to alleviate financial debt without losing everything. Avoiding the need to file starts all the way back at developing the original business plan. Understanding what types of costs are involved with running a successful company and at what point assistance is required. Some of the most successful businesses need to file for bankruptcy at some point, though this action is never desired. The damage done to personal and commerce credit can effect a persons whole life if partnerships and assets are not appointed correctly. Speaking with a trade planner or lawyer when developing the business can ensure that the right provisions are made to ensure the best route even in the event of filing. Other options include reorganization and liquidation.

Get creative in any way to avoid financial ruin by selling part of the company as another share, liquidating merchandise, or downsizing employees or locations. Exploring all measures for saving money before small business bankruptcy becomes a reality is optimal. Keeping strong financial records will indicate any problems even before the threat of losing everything to the bank. In some cases other similar businesses are in the same position and a merge of companies may solve the problem. This action may cut expenses in half and increase market population. Though many companies bounce back after small business filing bankruptcy, this usually occurs in companies that have other avenues of income that can be used to bounce back.

Understanding the different ways to file is crucial to the success of any company and personal reputation. There are three types of bankruptcy filing: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is best when the corporation has no future, substantial assets, or the debts are unmanageable. Corporations are not eligible for this type of small business filing bankruptcy. If this is the best route, the educating oneself on the types of debts qualified as dischargeable will aid in determining what debts to pay on. Unqualified debts include: taxes, student loans, debts incurred by fraud, and child support. Though some of these provisions are not related to the small company itself, a person may feel they can be rolled into the business filing. Seeking professional legal advice on how to prepare for small business bankruptcy saves money in the long run, although this statement only applies when an honest and experienced lawyer is hired.

The chapter 13 route basically sets up a repayment plan similar to that of a debt consolidator, however unlike a debt consolidator chapter 13 can only take certain debts and it is a mandated process by the bank or other creditors. In most cases chapter 13 is used for the debts that chapter 7 small business bankruptcy doesnt cover. Keeping as many debts as possible with realistic plans for repayment aids in sustaining and building credit. Liquidated or unsecured debts another reason for small business filing bankruptcy under chapter 13. Relief on taxes may be an option based on the kind of tax, age of the tax, whether a return was filed, and the type of small business bankruptcy was filed. Careful planning and research will ensure proper methods for successful small business filing bankruptcy.

When it is determined that filing is the only choice and the type is chosen, deciding who should file might be the harder decision. If the owner files on his own then some advantages may occur such as saving money on attorney and accountant fees, keep secret financial information, and find loopholes for legally selling assets. The disadvantages include the restriction of hiring new employees, cooperation from creditors, and increasing the likelihood of mismanaged settlements with creditors. Finding other companies that have filed and learning as much as possible from them is ideal, however not many small companies intend on publicizing the news. In that case, reading as many news stories and magazines articles from credible authors becomes the only way of education. Realizing that every company is different and that the only way to know for sure it to find a good lawyer and accountant to aid in the process. Most people find it shocking that personal and company debts are tied together even though all industry teachings instruct separating the expenses. Likewise, continuing self employment efforts after bankruptcy should be discussed with the attorney in order to ensure legal practices before and after small business filing bankruptcy.

The bottom line is to avoid having to file at all costs. Living on a cash only system with no loans, liens, or owing of any kind accomplishes a debt-free company. In most cases people go into debt with hopes that having a bigger copier, bigger office space, nicer desk, better advertising, or more employees will bring more profit, but the economy is an unsure thing especially when new products are introduced thus creating an instable platform for debt repayment. With this information, a person had better have a plan for payment even if the economy goes south. And it came to pass about this time, that [Joseph] went into the house to do his business; and [there was] none of the men of the house there within. (Genesis 39:11) This may include a savings plan every month for payment on an item during slow months or renting the same item until the amount is made to purchase outright. Speaking with a commerce planner will help determine a specific and successful corporation plans for any company.

Small Business Bankruptcies

Before filing for a small business bankruptcy, financial experts advise the company's owners to consult with an attorney who specializes in this area. Federal laws can change and, of course, bankruptcy laws vary from one state to another. A competent attorney will be knowledgeable on changes to the Bankruptcy Code and provisions that are specific to the state where the debtors are conducting business. The attorney will also be able to advise the owners on which of the six types of bankruptcies will offer them the most appropriate protection given the specifics of their situation. While individuals usually file under Chapters 7 or 13, a small business bankruptcy may be filed under Chapters 7, 11, or 13. The decision of which chapter offers the most appropriate protection depends upon such factors as how the company is structured and the circumstances of the indebtedness, Another type, Chapter 12, is specifically designed for family farmers and family fishermen who have regular income from these ventures. Scriptures give this promise from God: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" (Psalm 32:8). Oftentimes that promise is fulfilled by seeking out competent resources and relevant information.

A Chapter 7 small business bankruptcy is an option for sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Most partnerships, LLCs, and corporations are considered as separate legal entities. This means that the owners' personal assets are protected from the company's creditors. However, a trustee has the authority to access the personal assets of the owners of a partnership if the company assets do not satisfy the demands of all the creditors. The sole proprietor's personal assets are not protected at all as the company is seen as an extension of the owner and not a separate entity. A business may opt for Chapter 7 when liquidating the company's assets, not reorganization, is the goal. There is no future for the business, no substantial assets, and overwhelming debt. The attorney will provide worksheets for the owners to complete and will use that information to file the small business bankruptcy petition and create the necessary schedules of financial information. The act of filing the petition with the court places an automatic stay on the collection efforts of the creditors. Once a trustee is appointed, a 341 meeting will be held with the creditors. (The name comes from Section 341 of the Code and is sometimes referred to as the first meeting of the creditors.) At this meeting, the owners are under oath to answer all questions put to them by the trustee and/or the creditors. In the Chapter 7 process, the trustee gathers and sells the business assets. He then distributes the proceeds to the creditors according to the agreed-upon plan.

In many ways, a Chapter 13 small business bankruptcy is similar to a Chapter 7 except that a Chapter 13 is not designed for LLCs or corporations or for most partnerships. Though individuals or married couples can file for personal bankruptcies under Chapters 7 or 13, as far as a business is concerned, this type is reserved for sole proprietorships. As in Chapter 7, a petition is filed by sole proprietor, the required documents are completed, a trustee is appointed, and a 341 meeting is held. The sole proprietor is under oath to answer all questions, but few creditors may actually participate in these proceedings. In this type of small business bankruptcy, the sole proprietor creates a repayment plan that pays all debt within three to five years. As part of creating the plan, the sole proprietor may renegotiate with the creditors to lessen the amount of the debt. As long as the payment plan complies with the Code, the creditors may not even vote on the payment plan. The trustee oversees the process by receiving a monthly payment from the sole proprietor which is then disbursed to the creditors according to the agreed upon plan. The sole proprietor may, if the outlook is favorable, stay in business and work to improve the company's financial status.

A Chapter 11 small business bankruptcy is the most complicated as the goal is to reorganize the company, not to liquidate the assets. An attorney is most definitely needed to navigate the complexities of this process which is most often used by financially-troubled partnerships, LLCs, and corporations. Usually a trustee is not appointed, but the company becomes what is known as a debtor in possession. The owners or managers retain the assets and continue operating the business. At the 341 meeting, a creditor's committee may be appointed which is made up of the seven largest unsecured creditors. This committee helps the owners or managers with the reorganization plan. The creditors are divided into classes and each class gets to vote on the reorganization plan. Of course, all this has to be done while adhering closely to the Code. Because of the complexities of the approving the plan, the process may take one to two years. Once everything is confirmed, the company's secured debt payments may be spread out over a twenty to thirty year period. These are creditors whose loans are secured by collateral, a tangible asset that can be repossessed if the debt isn't paid. A small business bankruptcy is never pleasant, but the process can be beneficial to companies that need to be rescued from overwhelming debt or can benefit from being given a second chance to succeed.

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