What’s the Income Threshold to File a Bankruptcy?

Understanding the Income Threshold for Bankruptcy Filing

Filing for bankruptcy is a complex process that depends on a myriad of factors, and one of the most commonly misunderstood is income. Often, people are under the impression that there exists a specific income bracket that qualifies or disqualifies an individual for bankruptcy. However, the reality is far from it. The income threshold for filing bankruptcy is not confined to a particular range, neither is it the sole determinant of eligibility.

Let’s delve deeper into this topic and clarify some misconceptions about bankruptcy and income levels.

Bankruptcy: A Matter of Solvency, Not Income

The first step towards understanding the income threshold for filing bankruptcy is recognizing that bankruptcy is more about solvency than income. Solvency is the ability to meet financial obligations as they come due. If you owe $1,000 or more and are unable to pay your debts as they become due, it’s likely you are eligible for bankruptcy.

To determine your eligibility, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee would need to review your entire financial situation. They will examine whether your debts outweigh your assets (insolvency) and whether bankruptcy is the most beneficial option for you.

Income’s Role in Bankruptcy

Even though there is no minimum or maximum income threshold for bankruptcy, your income does play a significant role in the process. It affects the cost of the bankruptcy and its duration.

Contribution to Bankruptcy

Your income, along with your household expenses and the number of people in your household, determines the amount you will contribute to the bankruptcy.

Duration of Bankruptcy

The duration of your bankruptcy depends on several factors, including:


  • Whether it’s your first or subsequent bankruptcy.
  • If your income exceeds the legislated income guidelines.
  • Whether you fulfill all your bankruptcy duties.


Superintendent’s Standards: The Income Guidelines

The government sets specific income guidelines for bankrupt individuals, known as the Superintendent’s Standards. These standards specify any surplus income you’re required to pay. Below is a summary of the Superintendent’s Standards for 2023 (monthly), which will determine your contribution to your bankruptcy:


Size of household (number of individuals) Income Threshold
1 $2,543
2 $3,165
3 $3,891
4 $4,725
5 $5,359
6 $6,044
7 $6,729


Income Changes and Bankruptcy

During your bankruptcy, you are required to submit monthly income reports. These reports help the Trustee determine if you need to make surplus income payments, the amount of the payment, and your anticipated discharge date.

An increase in income may trigger surplus income requirements, thereby increasing the bankruptcy’s cost and extending its timeline. On the contrary, a decrease in income could result in no requirement to pay surplus income and reduce the bankruptcy’s duration. If you foresee any significant income changes, it’s advisable to discuss them with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee before proceeding with bankruptcy.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, the income threshold for filing bankruptcy is not about a specific income bracket but rather about your ability to meet your financial obligations. As illustrated, various factors come into play when considering bankruptcy, and your income plays a significant part in determining the cost and duration of the process. Always consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to understand your best option, which could also include filing a Consumer Proposal instead of bankruptcy.

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