Schedule C is the form Chapter 7 debtors must use to exempt assets from seizure. As opposed to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in which you don't have to worry about losing any assets, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy. Anything you own of significant value can be seized from you and sold at auction. To prevent debtors from walking away from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy with no possessions, bankruptcy law grants debtors exemptions they can use to protect certain assets from liquidation. Assets not listed on Schedule C are subject to sale even if they would have been exempt.
Get a list of exemptions in your state. Although bankruptcy is federal law, states are allowed to opt-out of federal bankruptcy exemptions and use their own. Your local bankruptcy clerk or court website can provide you with the list of exemptions your state uses. Exemptions are updated regularly, so confirm you have the most recent ones.
Compare your entries on schedules A and B of your bankruptcy petition with the exemption list. Schedule A is where you list all of your real property such as your home, and Schedule B is where you list the rest of your personal property. Note which of your assets are protected under the bankruptcy laws in your state, as those are the ones you must list on Schedule C.
Check the box at the top of the form indicating which exemptions you are using. The top box indicates you will be using federal bankruptcy exemptions, while the bottom one represents the use of state exemptions. Some states require you to use federal exemptions, while others prohibit them. Confirm which exemptions you are permitted to use with your local bankruptcy clerk or court website.
Enter any of your exempt property under the first column of Schedule C, "Description of Property." For example, if you have a $500 ring that is exempt in your state, list a description of the ring. Ensure all descriptions match the entries you make on schedules A and B so the court understands you are referring to the same asset.
Cite the correct bankruptcy law under the second column, "Specify Law Providing Each Exemption." Some property can fall under more than one exemption, so the court needs to know which exemption you are using. For example, your state might have a jewelry exemption of $500 and a "wild card" or "miscellaneous" exemption of $1,000. If you have a $500 ring, you can exempt it under either category. The proper choice can depend on what other type of property you own.
Reference the amount of the exemption you are using in column three, "Value of Claimed Exemption." The total value of the exemptions you claim in column three cannot exceed the individual exemption limits in your state. For example, if you have three cars worth $5,000 each, and your allowable exemption for cars is $12,000, you would list $5,000, $5,000 and $2,000 as the amount of your claimed exemptions in column three. You cannot exempt more than $2,000 of the third car, so you cannot list $5,000 as the amount of your claimed exemption for this car.
List the market value of your property in the final column, "Current Value of Property Without Deducting Exemption." By comparing the market value of your property with the amount of your claimed deductions, the court can see at a glance if you have any property that is partially non-exempt and subject to possible liquidation.
- The specific law you must cite will be on the list of exemptions you obtain from the court. Typically, citations under federal bankruptcy exemptions begin with "11 U.S.C.," indicating Title 11 of the U.S. Code. A section of the code referencing your specific exemption will come next, such as "Section 522." For state exemptions, the citation references the appropriate state code. For example, in California, a citation will begin with "C.C.P." for "Code of Civil Procedure," followed by a section number.
- Bankruptcy law is complex. The website of the U.S. Courts recommends that you retain a competent attorney if you file bankruptcy.
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA, John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served 18 years as an investment adviser. Csiszar has served as a technical writer for various financial firms and has extensive experience writing for online publications.