Credit Repair-Bankruptcy by Steven Hay
Part 1 and Part 2 was yesterday.
The Bankruptcy Restriction Order does not stop your Official Receiver to take criminal actions against any of your offences. If you sell goods that you have on hire purchase agreement or you fill out false information on your loan application, your actions will be taken into account to the attention of the court, no less.
Discharge from Bankruptcy
The Enterprise Act of 2002 ruled out for discharge from bankruptcy after a period of one year. If you cooperate well enough with your Official Receiver and act to the best of your behavior, this can be moved earlier. A discharge from bankruptcy would mean that all your remaining debts even after your properties and assets have been sold will be written off so you can make a fresh start.
If, for example, you went bankrupt on April 1, 2004, you will be discharged from bankruptcy on April 1, 2005 unless it is about to end earlier.
The rules on discharge from bankruptcy only applies to first timers. If you have had previous petitions for bankruptcy or your automatic discharge has been suspended, this may take long than you expected. Not keeping an amicable relationship with your Official Receiver could also lengthen your suffering.
If you want a certificate of your discharge, you may request the court to issue you one but this will cost £60.00 on your purse. Also, if you want to apply to have your bankruptcy annulled, you may well do so for as long as all your financial obligations have been paid off.
Alternatives to Bankruptcy
Individual Voluntary Arrangements
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement or IVA is a formal agreement between the debtor and the County Court made to avoid a petition for bankruptcy. You can either set an amount to pay your creditors monthly and dutifully or pay them in full. To file for an IVA, you will need the help of an insolvency practitioner who will act as the middle man. It is usually costly to hire an insolvency practitioner. Asking them for an initial meeting where you can seek advice whether filing an IVA is appropriate in your case or not is best suited. This way, you can be sure that every cent you pay for is worth it. Names of local insolvency practitioners can be obtained through the court offices or the Official Receivers.
The insolvency practitioner prepares the proposal of payment scheme that is according to your capabilities. If your creditors agree to the terms stated in your IVA, the arrangement is put in place. If you fail to comply with the terms in your IVA for the period that it was in effect either your insolvency practitioner or your creditors could file a bankruptcy petition against you.
Be wary about companies offering to put you on the line with an insolvency practitioner as this requires a fee. You can very well deal directly with an insolvency practioner without having to go through a third party.
FACTSHEET – Individual Voluntary Arrangements
If you need more information regarding Individual Voluntary Arrangements, you may get in touch with the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000.
Fast Track Individual Voluntary Arrangements (FTVA)
This is another alternative that you could sort through. The FTVA is used to have your existing bankruptcy annulled by way of submitting an installment plan to your creditors and hope against hope that they agree with it. This arrangement is much appealing to creditors because they could be paid more under FTVA than what they would under bankruptcy.
Instead of the insolvency practitioner, the Official Receiver works directly to put an FTVA in place. The FTVA is much cheaper than the IVA to arrange because the set fees and costs are lower. If you fail to adhere to the FTVA while it is in effect, your Official Receiver will have no other way than to make you go bankrupt again.
WARNING – Fast Track Individual Voluntary Arrangements
Weighing up the ways an FTVA could work for or against your advantage is important before tackling this road. If you choose to have an organization act on your behalf instead of the Official Receiver, you may want to consider a free debt management plan. This way, you can devise affordable repayment schedule for your unsecured debts.
COUNTY COURT FEES
DO I HAVE TO PAY A FEE FOR AN APPLICATION IN THE COUNTY COURT?
Every transaction with the County Court usually requires court fees. If you feel that you are incapacitated to pay the fees by way of benefits, you can submit an EX160 or the “Application for a fee exemption or remission” together with your main application. If the court agrees to your petition for exemption then you will not have to pay certain fees. If, however, you have paid a fee when you should have been exempted, you can file a petition for the court to waive or refund your paid amount. You can do this within six months after the payment has been made.
The court awards exemptions from paying fees to those deserving individuals who are on benefits. If you are on income support or income based job seekers’ allowance (JSA), you can automatically be awarded exemption. This is also the case with those who are on working tax credits. If you are on child tax credit or you have received the disability or severe disability element in your working tax, you can be eligible for exemption. This is considering your gross annual income taken into account for working tax credit is not more than £14,600.
To qualify for both, you must present substantial documents that will prove that you are on the above mentioned benefits. If your case does not fall under both, you can ask for your paid fee to be waived under the remission rule.
If the court fees will cause you “undue financial hardship”, you are qualified to file for remission, upon which your paid fee will be refunded. This can happen under exceptional circumstances that should prove you are not capable of shedding extra cash for your petitions. To apply for remission, you must present a list of your personal budget, your incomes and outgoings. You must present proofs that your current financial situation makes it impossible for you to pay the fee without having to go though “undue financial hardship.” Upon studying your petition, the court may refund part or all of your paid fee depending on what it feels you can afford.