Notice to bankruptcy creditors

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (the “Act”) contains a provision that allows creditors to receive prompt notice of a bankruptcy proceeding under Chapters 7 and 13. The notice requirement applies to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies whose debts are primarily consumer debts. The notice must contain the last 4 digits of the debtor’s Social Security number. If, within 90 days of the debtor’s filing the petition, creditors provide the individual debtor with at least two communications that state the debtor’s current account number and the address at which the creditor requests to receive correspondence, then all notices must be sent to that address and include the debtor’s full account number. If the notice concerns an amendment that adds the creditor to the schedules, the debtor must include the full taxpayer identifier number to the creditor and only the last 4 digits of the taxpayer identification number with the copy of the notice filed with the court. The Act also provides that a creditor may designate a particular person or subdivision of the company to receive all bankruptcy notices. To accomplish this, the creditor must file a notice of address in any bankruptcy court, requesting that all notices in all Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in which the creditor is involved be sent to a particular address. The clerk of the court is responsible for inserting the address in a countrywide database of creditor addresses that will be used by all bankruptcy courts. If the notices are not sent to the creditor at the requested address, the creditor cannot be responsible for receiving notice. Therefore, a creditor cannot be penalized for violating the automatic stay if adequate notice was not received. The creditor will only be responsible for notices sent to the specified address. A creditor may request copies of relevant documents pertaining to an individual debtor’s Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy by filing a request with the court. Upon such request, the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 individual debtor must provide creditors with a copy of the petition, schedules and statement of financial affairs. The debtor must also provide the creditor with a copy of the tax return(s) filed with the trustee, or summary of the tax return. A creditor must file the request for a copy of the debtor’s tax return 14 days before the meeting of creditors. A Chapter 13 debtor must also provide a creditor with a copy of the plan. The plan must be provided to the creditors within 7 days of the request, at a reasonable cost to the creditor.