The first quarter of each year is hectic for most bankruptcy attorneys. The number of filings tends to increase dramatically due to post Christmas credit card bills, higher heat utility bills, income taxes, property taxes, annual membership dues and other annual fees that often come due this time of year, and of course - all culminating with April 15 - the date Wisconsin Public Service, WE Energies, and Alliant Energy can disconnect Wisconsin customers who are delinquent on their utility bills.
Amidst the craziness, there are just a few reminders I'd like to pass along.
- If you own real estate, previously sent in a copy of your 2011 property tax bill, and your case is not yet filed for any reason - be advised that your 2012 property tax bill is now required.
- Chapter 13 debtors who have already filed bankruptcy - remember that when you file your tax returns, you must also send a copy of your returns to the Chapter 13 Trustee. Some of you may also be required to send in 1/2 of your tax refund. To see if this applies to you, refer to the most recent copy of your plan, or call your attorney to check your obligations.
- Chapter 13 debtors who have already filed for bankruptcy - have you completed your financial management course yet? For those of you assigned to Trustee Thomas J. King, please check his website for new date / time offerings. http://www.ch13oshkosh.com/debtored.html
- Chapter 13 debtors who have not yet filed bankruptcy - file your tax returns as quickly as possible. Even though they are not due until April 15, Chapter 13 cases filed after December 31, 2012 cannot be confirmed until 2012 tax returns are on file with the IRS and the state.
- If you do fall behind on your utilities this winter, be prepared to file bankruptcy well in advance of April 15. Do not wait until the last minute to file - you will not be the only person trying to avoid a power shut-off.