Schedule E/F is a combination of two earlier separate forms that were necessary as part of a bankruptcy proceeding. When you file a bankruptcy case, you'll include the paperwork that details all manner of financial information about you. These documents are called schedules.
Changes to Schedules
Previously, most debts were listed on Schedules E—Priority Unsecured Creditors—and Schedule F—Non-Priority Unsecured Creditors. In 2015, the U.S. Courts completed an overhaul of these bankruptcy documents. Instead of two separate forms, there is just one form, Schedule E/F—Creditors Who Have Unsecured Claims.
Even though all unsecured creditors will be listed on this form, it is still necessary to differentiate between priority and non-priority claims because there are sections of the form that are dedicated to each type of debt.
Unsecured and Secured Debts
Schedule E/F can be confusing and complicated for many debtors to complete. You must have a handle on the difference between unsecured debt and secured debt, and know which unsecured debts are given higher priority status for repayment.
Unsecured debts are debts that do not have collateral securing their repayment. They include credit cards, medical bills, taxes, child support, alimony, different types of personal loans, past due utility payments and rent. This category may even include unpaid I.O.U.'s to your brother. There is a separate form, Bankruptcy Schedule D, for secured debts like mortgages and car loans.
Even with the instructions on Schedule E/F, it is difficult to know if a particular unsecured debt is a priority or not. In general, priority claims are either:
- Non-dischargeable—debt that can't be eliminated—in bankruptcy
- Entitled to payment above other creditors
Of course, this payment still depends on if the bankruptcy trustee has any assets to liquidate to pay creditors.
If you are uncertain about how to characterize your debt, you need to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you fail to complete the form correctly, or if you mischaracterize your debt, you could be compromising your rights.
Part I: List All Your Priority Unsecured Claims
The first sheet of the Schedule E/F acts as a road map for you to fill out the document. There are multiple boxes for you to check next to the type of priority claims that you have. If you have no priority claims, check the box for "none". The types of priority claims include:
- Domestic support obligations
- Extensions of credit in an involuntary bankruptcy case
- Contributions to employee benefit plans
- Claims of certain farmers and fishermen
- Deposits by individuals
- Taxes and debt owed to governments
- Commitments to maintain the capital of an insured depository institution
- Claims for death or injury while the debtor was intoxicated.
List the priority creditor's name, address, and last four digits of the account number.
When Was the Debt Incurred?
When was the claim incurred? Write down the date in this blank.
Do You Dispute the Debt?
Are you disputing the debt, or claiming that it is contingent or unliquidated? Check one or more of these checkboxes indicate this. Unliquidated claims are those that cannot be calculated numerically. A contingent claim is one that has not arisen yet but is contingent on some future event.
Type of Priority Debt
Is the debt for a domestic support obligation, taxes, claims for personal injury while you were intoxicated, or "other?"
This column is fairly straightforward - you need only disclose the amount of the claim in dollars.
Priority and Nonpriority Amount
State how much of each claim is entitled to priority and how much of the debt is nonpriority.
Who Incurred the Debt?
Check the box to indicate which filer is liable on the debt.
Is the Claim Subject to Offset?
A claim is subject to offset if you owe the creditor, but the creditor also owes you money. A common offset claim arises when you owe money to Big Bank and you have a checking account there. Because Big Bank is holding your money, Big Bank owes that money to you. In certain cases, Big Bank could offset what you owe it against what it owes you by taking what you owe out of your checking account.
Consequences of Priority Unsecured Claims
Priority unsecured claims will be paid above any other claims, except for domestic support obligations and administrative claims (such as the trustee's fees). This aspect does not particularly affect a debtor but does certainly change the outcome of distribution for other creditors. As previously discussed, however, many of the priority claims are also non-dischargeable, such as domestic support obligations, certain taxes, and claims for death or injury while intoxicated. This means that despite the bankruptcy filing, those creditors can still seek to collect the debt by suing you or by using any other legal means once the bankruptcy case is over.
Part II: List All Your Nonpriority Unsecured Claims
The info you'll provide for nonpriority debts is very similar. These will include credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, old taxes and anything else that isn't secured or priority. Mark the appropriate box If the debt is a student loan, debts that arise out of a separation agreement or divorce, a debt to a pension or profit-sharing plan. Otherwise, under "other" state what kind of debt it is.
Part III and IV
Sometimes another person or company needs to be listed, like a law firm, a governmental agency, or a bill collector. By listing these entities here, in Part III, you ensure they receive notice of the bankruptcy.
Part IV of the form allows you to total the amounts for each type of unsecured claim. This is your summary for Schedule E/F.