When you file for bankruptcy, two courses are required to obtain the discharge. These are the credit counseling and debtor education classes. The first class, called Credit Counseling, is mandatory to file the case. The second Debtor Education class is required to obtain the discharge.
Without obtaining the class certificate before filing, the case is automatically dismissed. After completing these classes, you receive a certificate. The credit counseling certificate expires after six months. However, many of the providers also have debt settlement services and may attempt to sell you on settling debts instead. Remember that debt settlement fails over 90% of the time.
The Debtor Education class.
If you want a discharge, you should immediately take the Debtor Education class after filing your case. A certificate from this class is required if you want the discharge. Active-duty military people are generally exempt from the counseling requirement. If you are vision-impaired and cannot complete the course online, you can get counseling over the phone.
Credit counseling and debtor education fees may be waived if you are below the poverty guideline. However, providers require you to prove your income level to receive this waiver.
Forgetting to take the second Debtor Education class is a costly common mistake. If you fail to take the second course (Debtor Education) before your case closes, you have to file a motion to reopen the case, pay another filing fee and a small attorney fee for filing two motions. This $600 cost is completely avoidable by taking the second class and filing the certificate immediately after your case is filed.
Debtor education and credit counseling course providers.
We searched the entire web for you to find the two best course providers. I believe BKcert and StartFreshToday are the best providers. The cheapest provider is prebk.com, but they may attempt to sell you debt settlement services. We only need the certificate, and it does not matter which provider you use to obtain the discharge. They are all convenient because they automatically file the second Debtor Education class for you. BKcert is not the least expensive provider, but they are quick and tend to operate extended hours.
BK Cert is also known as DECAF. This provider has been around ever since debtor education was first required, and it is the provider I like best. For an emergency, BKcert.com is open 24/7. The significant advantage to BKcert is we get certificates immediately in case of an emergency filing.
Start Fresh Today
Interestingly, StartFreshToday offers custom counseling to fit your individual and specific needs. This is a good feature because counseling for foreclosure clients is different than counseling for clients with medical debts or tax problems. So, it may be more relevant to you if you are listening to credit counseling that specifically addresses your issues.
The Start Fresh Today platform conveniently offers the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education courses online or by phone at the same price for single or joint filers with full customer support and fast certificate delivery. 800-435-9138, our attorney code is NT4459. However, they do close at 10 pm.
If you can’t afford the above alternatives, contact my Administrative Assistant Toni at 502-625-0903, and she will help you find the least expensive course.
How to receive a free credit report and repair your credit.
The video below tells you how to get a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com or 877–322–8228. This is also a great way to get all your creditor’s recent information for your bankruptcy. That’s because a credit report should contain all of your debt’s account numbers and addresses. Your credit report will not have all of your creditors, but it usually has the correct contact information for each creditor.
You can remove old, untrue, and misleading information from your credit file if you need credit repair. But, it takes is organization and perseverance to clean up your credit report as much as possible. We strongly suggest that you wait six to twelve months after your discharge to repair your credit if you file for bankruptcy.
Other helpful bankruptcy links for your convenience.
For a copy of your tax returns: Jefferson County PVA.
Deeds and mortgage documents for Jefferson County: Jefferson County Land Records.
IRS Returns: You can get a copy of your tax transcripts for the prior two years by calling 1-800-829-1040, but the wait can be horrible. Tax returns and a copy of your account with the IRS are available. Failing to file tax returns or provide copies of your taxes or your Social Security card is the basis for dismissing your case automatically.
Hopefully, you will have filed your taxes for the prior two years. If you need to bankrupt income taxes, you will need both the account transcripts and your returns. Please note that these are two different documents.
Turn to the IRS transaction codes on the transcript to learn if your debt is old enough to discharge and what was done in your account. You may also download this information at ProofOfTax.com or IRS.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript.
You can also download our manual that explains step by step how to handle foreclosures, student loan debt, and how to bankrupt income taxes.
If you are thinking about filing bankruptcy, don’t delay because timing is crucial. I am here to help you. So, contact my office right away to start the conversation. Nick C. Thompson, Bankruptcy Lawyer: 502-625-0905.