March 27, 2015

How To File Bankruptcy Without An Attorney in California

By |March 27th, 2015|

Many insist that an attorney is unnecessary in bankruptcy because their case is “simple”  or because they plain cannot afford one.

However, lately it seems not a day goes by that I don’t get a phone call from a debtor representing themself in bankruptcy who is facing some big problem.

They are always surprised to learn that they did not know everything they needed to know in order to properly represent themselves.

But the fact remains that a large percentage of those filing bankruptcy […]

Are Sales Taxes in California Bankruptcy Cases Dischargeable?

By |March 22nd, 2015|

In California, sellers are required to pay sales taxes to the State Board of Equalization (“SBOE”) based on receipts from sales.

Many bankruptcy attorneys (and others) believe that sales taxes in California can never be discharged.

Not true. I have discharge sales taxes for many of my clients.

Naysayers claim that sales taxes are like “trust fund” tax liabilities which are, in fact, never dischargeable.

But in California, sales taxes are not trust fund taxes anymore.

They used to be, but many years ago the law […]

Bankruptcy, Like Butter, Is Good For You

By |March 3rd, 2015|

For decades we were (incorrectly) told that butter was bad for us and, instead, we should eat artificial hydrogenated oils contained in margarine.

That was until doctors, following the lead of knowledgeable nutritionists and holistic health professionals, figured out that the margarine caused  heart and health problems and that butter and saturated fats are, actually, really nutritious.

As one example, see this NY Times opinion piece on how the tide is turning for butter.
Bankruptcy May Be Good For You–Really
It may not taste as […]

February 22, 2015

File Your Tax Returns On Time, Or Else

By |February 22nd, 2015|

ALWAYS FILE YOUR TAX RETURNS ON TIME, even if you cannot pay the taxes you owe.

Those of you who read my posts know that certain tax debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy.

The basic (but definitely not all) requirements for discharge of income taxes are:

The bankruptcy case must be filed more than 3 years after the last date in which the tax returns were due for a given tax year;
It must be at least 2 years since the returns were actually filed.
The […]

Should You Use Retirement Or Pension To Pay Debts Instead of Filing Bankruptcy?

By |February 20th, 2015|

In my opinion, using retirement or other protected funds to pay your debts is almost always a bad idea.

Yet it is one of the most frequent “solutions” people utilize in their misguided attempts to avoid filing bankruptcy.

I read an advice article today by  Trent Hamm of, self-described as  “a site for people who are fighting debt and bad spending habits, while trying to build a financially secure future and still afford a few luxuries in life.”

In the article, Mr. […]

Your Bankruptcy Mistakes Can Affect Others

By |February 5th, 2015|

File bankruptcy without a qualified bankruptcy attorney-

or don’t disclose everything to your attorney-

and your friends and loved ones could be in for a big surprise, not just yourself.
“I Cannot Afford An Attorney So I Will Just File Bankruptcy Myself”
Today’s true story is brought to you by Sarah (not her real name), a mother of two.

Sarah had lots of credit card and other debts.

She also owned a 1/3 interest in the house she lived in.  Her two children were the other […]

Employers Generally Not Notified of Bankruptcy

By |February 2nd, 2015|

There are a lot of fears people have when filing a bankruptcy case.

Will I lose my home? (Not if your case is prepared correctly and you file under the proper chapter for your situation)
Can I keep my car? (See above)
Will I ever have credit again? (Of course)

Most of these fears are unfounded.

One common fear is that your employer will be notified of your bankruptcy filing.

In most cases, this is nothing to worry about.
Bankruptcy Is Public Record
Just to get this out […]

January 24, 2015

Can You Bankrupt Unemployment Overpayments?

By |January 24th, 2015|

Not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy.

It would be nice for my clients if they were, but there are limits.

See my page on debt discharge in bankruptcy for more information.

One type of debt that for some reason arises with relative frequency is overpayments made for unemployment.

In California these payments are made by the Employment Development Department (EDD).

There are different ways this debt can arise, but essentially what happens is the government pays you more than you are entitled to under […]

December 27, 2014

Top 10 Los Angeles Bankruptcy Blog Posts of 2014

By |December 27th, 2014|

Another year comes to an end.  It was a busy year for bankruptcy.

Not so much for people filing bankruptcy, but certainly for accessing bankruptcy information.

Below are the most visited posts from my bankruptcy blog in 2014*:

10.  How To Determine Which Debts Are Discharged in Your Bankruptcy Case

When you receive your “discharge” there is nothing the court issues which lists which debts are discharged.  How do you know which debts you no longer have to pay?

Hint:  Ask your attorney


9. How Long […]

Where Does My Bankruptcy Case Get Filed?

By |December 11th, 2014|

You want to file a bankruptcy case and are ready to find an attorney.

Where does your case get filed and where should you look for your attorney?

Do you File Where Your Debts Were Made?

Many believe that you file the case where your debts were incurred, so that, for example, if your debts are all taxes from California and you are currently living somewhere else, your case would be filed in California.


Filing Anywhere in the USA?

Others think you can file bankruptcy […]