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Number Of Tax Dependents Does Not Determine Household For Bankruptcy Means Test

Here’s a question from a bankruptcy attorney in South Florida which touches upon an important and very basic concept for the bankruptcy means test. The attorney states that he represents a Chapter 7 client who has been in a domestic partnership for a long time. He and his partner have two children. The client claims himself and one of the children as a dependant for income tax purposes. The attorney asks if the debtor includes only his income and the expenses of the child he claims as tax dependent, or household income.

The answer is household income. For bankruptcy purposes, the debtor’s household includes all the people living in the home as a primary residence regardless of whom is claimed as a dependent for tax purposes. This debtor’s means test should include everyone’s income and everyone’s household and living expenses.


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