Small Business and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In the last few months, I have received a number of calls from owners of small businesses who want to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, primarily due to credit card debt, but want to continue to operate their businesses.  In most of these cases, the business owner have used personal credit cards to fund business operations.  Since the time the credit cards were used, the business improved, and is now profitable or would be profitable where it not for the payments on credit card debt.

Unfortunately, in this type of situation, filing bankruptcy comes with a price.  If you own a small business and are incorporated, the shares of that business are assets of the bankruptcy estate.  Further, any accounts receivable of the business are an asset of the business that belong to the shareholder.  Thus, if the shareholder files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee will treat the shares in the business, value them, and will try to sell them

Except in the case of a personal service business that has no significant inventory, receivables or any valuable assets, other than the experience and labor of its owner, the bankruptcy trustee will demand that the owner cease operating the business, and produce its records, value its assets and disclose other information related to the  business to the trustee.  As a result, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is likely to result in the business being shut down, and its owner being forced to start over.  Once the bankruptcy is completed, a new corporate entity can be formed and, assuming that the owner is able to resume operations and the business can be profitable, operations can be restarted.

Besides Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are other options.  Under appropriate circumstances, an owner of a small business can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy assuming that the business is being operated as a sole proprietorship, and, if the business is large enough, Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be an option.  In a Chapter 13 filing, it is usually difficult to predict what the cash flow of the business will be like and, therefore, it is difficult to come up with a bankruptcy payment plan.

If you are dealing with debt problems in Western New York, including Rochester, Canandaigua, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, Webster, Victor, Farmington, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Parma, Brockport, Spencerport, LeRoy, Chili, Churchville, Monroe County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Orleans County, Livingston County, and being harassed by bill collectors, and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer.