What is Surplus Income in Bankruptcy?

How Surplus Income Affects Bankruptcy Filings

Surplus income is any additional income you have over a certain threshold set by the government based on your family size and whether you were previously bankrupt.

You have to pay a portion of your surplus income to your creditors.

Our Bankruptcy Calculator will calculate the required payments for you.
Surplus income

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy provides the standards, from which the surplus income payments are calculated.

Effective September 18, 2009 the amount of your surplus income dictates how long you remain in bankruptcy.

Our Bankruptcy Calculator will calculate the required payments for you.

Superintendent’s Standards – 2016 – Total Monthly Surplus Income

(50% of the values in the cells are the required monthly payments, when the bankrupt does not have a spouse or other family member contributing to the family income.)

Surplus Income Standards - 2016/17

Appendix A

(A minimum of approximately $200.00 a month for nine months is required to cover Bankruptcy Estate costs.)

Superintendent’s Standards – 2016/17

Example (Family unit of 2):

Bankrupt’s available monthly income:$2,800
Other family unit member’s available monthly income:


Family unit’s available monthly income:$3,800
Minus the Superintendent’s standard for a family unit of 2 as per Appendix A:


Total monthly surplus income$1,199
Bankrupt’s portion of the family unit’s monthly income
(2,800 ÷ 3,800 = 73.68 %)
Payment required from bankrupt, as per paragraph 7(2)(a) of the Directive
$883.42 × 50 % = 441.71

(A minimum of approximately $1,800.00 over the term of the bankruptcy is required to cover Bankruptcy Estate costs.)

What if your non-bankruptcy spouse refuses to divulge his or her income to the trustee?

If your spouse works and is not going to file for bankruptcy, the trustee is obligated to base your monthly payments on family income including the income of the non-bankrupt spouse.

The non-bankrupt spouse can refuse to divulge his or her income to the trustee, in which case the trustee will calculate the monthly payments excluding the non-bankruptcy spouse from the calculation but only allowing 50% of the applicable Superintendent’s standards corresponding to the number of persons in the family unit, including the spouse who would not divulge his or her income.

If you wish to see how this affects the monthly payments you will be obliged to make, you can use our calculator at Bankruptcy Canada

Irregular Income

11. When a bankrupt’s income is irregular (e.g., sale commissions or seasonal employment), the amount that the bankrupt is required to pay to the bankrupt’s estate may be deferred until the time of preparation of Form 82 entitled Report of Trustee on Bankrupt’s Application for Discharge, if necessary.

At that time, the average income for the period of bankruptcy would be considered for the purpose of determining the amount that the bankrupt is required to pay to the bankrupt’s estate and a conditional discharge shall be recommended by the trustee for the total amount, if this has not already been paid.

If your income exceeds thresholds set by the provincial governments, you will have to pay surplus income payments to your bankruptcy estate.

First time bankrupts with surplus income will have to be bankrupt for 21 months (instead of 9), while bankrupts filing a second (or third) time will be bankrupt for 36 months (instead of 24).

Your net income is considered when calculating your average surplus income payments.

Even bankrupts with surplus income requirements are eligible for an automatic discharge if they’ve satisfied all of their requirements.

How long you will be in bankruptcy?

Click here to find out how long your bankruptcy will last based on your circumstances.


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