What Documents Do You Need to File for Bankruptcy?

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The documents you will need are generally the same whether you are filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  However, for exact documentation requirements, be sure to check the guidelines provided by your district and your specific bankruptcy trustee. Below are the most commonly required documents in bankruptcy.

Tax Returns

You will usually need to provide copies of your tax returns or tax transcripts for the last two years.  If you have unfiled returns, you will need to explain why you were not required to file.  If you did not have a valid reason for not filing, most trustees, especially in Chapter 13 cases, will require you to file your taxes and provide copies before concluding or approving your case.  Again, some trustees may require more tax returns while others may ask only for your most recent one.

Income Documentation

If you are an employee, you will need copies of paystubs for the six-month period prior to the bankruptcy and your last two W-2s.  If you are self-employed, you will probably need to provide a profit and loss statement for the same six-month period as well as business bank statements to verify the amounts on the statement. If you have income from other sources such as social security, disability, or rental properties, proof of this income is also required.

Real Estate

If you own real estate, you will need to provide valuation of the property (this can usually be an online valuation, broker’s price opinion, or a full appraisal depending on the potential amount of equity in the property or the guidelines of your district), mortgage statements showing current loan balances, deeds of trust, and proof of home insurance.


If you have cars, you’ll need to provide copies of your registration, proof of insurance, and valuation information. If you have a car loan, will need a recent loan statement showing how much you owe and what your monthly payment is.

Retirement And Bank Accounts

Recent bank and retirement account statements usually have to be provided to the bankruptcy trustee for all accounts.


If you have any other special circumstances affecting your bankruptcy such as being required to pay alimony or child support or other unusual expenses, you will need to show proof of these expenses (for example, you could provide a copy of a child support order).


When you go to your hearing with the trustee, you will be asked to show valid photo identification such as a driver’s license and proof of your social security number.

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