Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing Requirements: An Overview
When seeking bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, businesses must submit multiple pleadings, forms and supporting documents to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. As filing deficiencies can delay—or potentially even compromise—the bankruptcy process, businesses must work closely with their counsel to ensure that they meet all applicable requirements.
Generally, businesses filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 have three deadlines they need to meet. The first deadline is the date they submit their bankruptcy petition. If a business seeking bankruptcy protection does not meet the minimum filing requirements, this can disrupt the process before it truly begins. After the initial filing date, Chapter 11 filers must submit additional documentation within 14 days (if they do not include this documentation with their petition), and then the third deadline comes 120 days after filing.
Initial Filing Requirements Under Chapter 11
The primary document used to seek business bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 is the Voluntary Petition for Non-Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy. Along with basic identifying information, businesses must disclose information about their bankruptcy history (if any), confirm their eligibility to file in their chosen jurisdiction, and include basic information about their assets and debts. Businesses must also indicate whether they are pursuing a “small business bankruptcy” and whether they are submitting a reorganization plan with their petition.
The Voluntary Petition for Non-Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy also includes a mandatory declaration by the business’s authorized representative. By signing the petition, the authorized representative declares, under penalty of perjury, that:
- The business is requesting relief “in accordance with” the U.S. Bankruptcy Code;
- The representative is authorized to file the petition on the business’s behalf; and,
- The representative has examined the petition and has a reasonable belief that it is “true and correct.”
Along with the Voluntary Petition for Non-Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy, businesses seeking to reorganize their debts under Chapter 11 must also file:
- List of Creditors Who Have the 20 Largest Unsecured Claims and Are Not Insiders
- Disclosure of Compensation of Bankruptcy Petition Preparer
- Creditor Matrix File
- Balance Sheet, Statement of Operations, Cash‐Flow Statement, Federal Income Tax Return (these are required for small business bankruptcies only)
Documents Required To Be Filed Within 14 Days
Once a business initiates a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, it has 14 days to file various additional documents with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Businesses also have the option to file these documents with their petitions, and many choose to do so to ensure that they will not miss this deadline. Documents required to be filed within 14 days of a business’s bankruptcy petition include:
Summary of Assets and Liabilities for Non-Individuals
The Summary of Assets and Liabilities for Non-Individuals is, as its name suggests, a summary of key information about the business debtor’s financial standing. To complete this summary, businesses must first complete Schedules A/B, D and E/F.
Schedule A/B: Property
Schedule A/B requires business debtors to provide a comprehensive disclosure of their real and personal property. It divides debtors’ assets into 11 categories:
- Cash and Cash Equivalents
- Deposits and Prepayments
- Accounts Receivable
- Farming and Fishing-Related Assets
- Office Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment
- Machinery, Equipment and Vehicles
- Real Property
- Intangibles and Intellectual Property
- All Other Assets
Schedule D: Creditors Who Have Claims Secured by Property
Schedule D requires disclosure of business debtors’ secured creditors. Along with identifying all secured creditors and disclosing the amount of each debt and the value of its supporting collateral, businesses filing under Chapter 11 must also list any other entities that are entitled to notice of their bankruptcy filing (i.e., collection agencies, assignees and secured creditors’ attorneys).
Schedule E/F: Creditors Who Have Unsecured Claims
Schedule E/F requires businesses to identify all of their creditors that have unsecured claims. Businesses must separately list their creditors with priority and non-priority claims, and, for priority claims, they must disclose the current priority amount.
Schedule G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
Schedule G requires disclosure of all contracts under which business debtors have ongoing payment obligations. For all executory contracts and unexpired leases, businesses must disclose:
- “What the contract or lease is for and the nature of the debtor’s interest;”
- The remaining term of the contractor lease;
- The contract number (if a government contract); and,
- The counterparty’s name and mailing address.
Additional Schedules and Statements
Along with the Summary of Assets and Liabilities for Non-Individuals and Schedules A/B through G, businesses seeking bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 must also file the following within 14 days of initiating their bankruptcy proceedings:
- Schedule H: Codebtors
- Schedules I and J: Income and Expenses
- Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury for Non-Individual Debtors
- Statement of Financial Affairs for Non-Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
- Verification of Creditor Matrix
The 120-Day Deadline for Proposing a Reorganization Plan
The third major filing deadline comes 120 days after a business files for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. If the business wishes to exercise its “exclusive” right to propose a reorganization plan, it must do so within this 120-day period (unless it obtains an extension from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court). As indicated above, businesses can include their proposed reorganization plans with their initial filings if they choose.
Examples of Other Important Deadlines in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Cases
In addition to these three filing deadlines, businesses pursuing reorganization under Chapter 11 must be sure to meet various other deadlines as well. Some examples of these deadlines (this list is by no means exhaustive) include:
- Businesses must provide adequate assurance of payment of utility services within 20 days in order to avoid termination of these services.
- Businesses must commence performance on commercial lease obligations within 60 days unless the U.S. Bankruptcy Court orders otherwise.
- Businesses must file to remove pending state court litigation to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court within 90 days.
Speak with a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Confidence
Our business bankruptcy lawyers bring decades of experience to helping companies reorganize their debts through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. If you would like to discuss your company’s options with one of our lawyers in confidence, please call 305-768-9909 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation.