This page has information for attorneys representing Chapter 13 debtors in the Middle District of Tennessee. Information for creditors' attorneys is available under the Creditors menu.

Quick Links

Meeting of Creditors Zoom link

Document Upload Portal


Meeting of Creditors

In accordance with U.S. Trustee policies, the Trustee is currently conducting all meetings of creditors via Zoom. Find zoom instructions here. Access the meeting room here or by logging on with the Meeting ID 382 454 2966 and Passcode 5865235502. For questions, contact Mindy King at mindyk@ch13bna.com or 615-244-1101 x261

Document Uploads Requred for Meeting of Creditors

Documents required at least 14 days prior to the meetings of creditors:
  • Questionnaire(s). The Trustee will send questionnaires to the Debtors, but a blank version is available here. Be sure to use the current version, which includes the certifications that the debtor has viewed the three videos on this website. Upload the completed form(s) through the Upload Portal under the document type "Documents requested at MOC."
  • ID and proof of Social Security number. The Trustee must receive high-quality copies of these documents. If a copy is not adequate for the required verification, the Trustee will reschedule the meeting of creditors. Upload these documents in pdf format through the Upload Portal under the document types "Debtor 1 ID/SSN Verification" or "Debtor 2 ID/SSN Verification.".
Documents required at least 7 days prior to the meetings of creditors:
  • Tax return and pay advices. The Trustee will not conduct the meeting of creditors without reviewing the debtor's tax return and pay advices. Upload these through the Upload Portal under the applicable document types.
Documents required no later than 48 hours after the meeting of creditors.
  • No later than 48 hours after the meeting of creditors, upload the following documents under the Documents Requested at MOC document type: The attorney's signed verification of each debtor's identification and social security number.
  • The attorney's signed approval of the plan terms stated on the handwritten plan summary provided by email following the meeting of creditors.
Meeting Protocols and Best Practices

The attorney and the debtor(s) must be visible at the same time. This may require more than one device or camera. Switching a camera from the debtor(s) to the attorney is not permitted. Only the attorney and the attorney's staff can be present in the room with the debtor(s) . Please log in at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting's scheduled start time. See here for best practices for Zoom meetings of creditors. The Trustee will not allow a party to participate in a meeting of creditors while driving a motor vehicle.

Trustee's Information Packet

Make certain that your clients are aware that they will be receiving a packet from the Trustee's office that will contain the Red Book, questionnaire(s), information on the three videos available on the trustee's web site, and other information related to the meeting of creditors. This information is not intended to substitute for the information that you impart to your clients, but to reinforce the information that you provide.


To request a continuance of the meeting of creditors date, please submit a completed continuance form to Mattie Gordon at mattieg@ch13bna.com.

Need an Interpreter ?

If your client will need the services of an interpreter, make certain that you have advised the United States Trustee and the Trustee's office well in advance of the meeting. Double check that you know what language you will be needing and, if appropriate, any dialect.

Access to Trustee System

13Network provides limited access to the Trustee's case records and case management system. Use this form to request access.

13Network Main Menu

The main menu runs across the top of the screen. It includes the following options:

  • Case Query is the home screen, and it provides access to case records. In addition to the search box, users can select recently accessed cases by clicking the case in the box to the left of the search box.

  • Matter Listing provides access to the Trustee's hearing management records.

Case Information on 13Network

Each case record has a menu across the top (below the main menu). The case records include the pages described below.

Pay Schedules

The Pay Schedules tab displays the Trustee's record of the status of plan payments expected and received.

The top of the page lists the plan payment amounts and frequencies, and it identifies the effective dates of any changes.

The chart below shows the total due each month and the total received, and it displays a running monthly calculation of the payment status.

The "Amount Due" column shows the cumulative delinquency or overpayment. A positive number indicates a delinquency and a negative number indicates an overpayment. The Amount Due calculation does incorporate some adjustments that the chart does not display. For example, it includes an adjustment (early in the case) equal to one monthly payment to account for the 30-day deadline for first plan payment under the Code. Unusual circumstances may also affect the calculation, so parties should not rely on the information without verifying it.

Note: Though we often focus on the overall status, the timing of the payments is also important. Subject to some exceptions, the Trustee's normal process is to disburse all plan funds in each monthly disbursement cycle. That means that an overpayment in one month does not pay the account ahead for the next month. The extra funds will flow down the order of distribution stated in the confirmed plan. If the debtor does not make payments the next month, the Trustee may not have funds to make the monthly payments required under the plan.


The Payees page displays the claim information for the case. The Trustee inputs every claim scheduled by the debtor(s) or asserted by a creditor with at least one payee record.

For administrative purposes, the Trustee may set up multiple payee records for a single claim when the plan requires payment of multiple claim components. This usually involves long-term mortgage claims. For example, the Trustee may have five or more payee records associated with a single mortgage claim: (1) the regular maintenance payment; (2) the amount required to cure the prepetition default; (3) the "gap" arrearage for the postpetition, preconfirmation payments; (4) any postpetition fees, expenses, or charges; and (5) any separately ordered amounts.

The "Level" column reflects the disbursement level. These numbers do not necessarily correspond to the disbursement levels stated on the confirmation order, but the numbers implement the order of distribution.

The "Monthly Payment" column states the regular monthly payment set up for the claim. For mortgage claims, the record for regular maintenance payments on a mortgage may include "step" payments, reflecting change(s) to the regular payment. If a payee has a step payment, the disbursements will be controlled by the step payment schedule, not the payment stated in the "Monthly Payment" column.

To view the step payments, click on the payee name for the maintenance payment record. The pink box below the payment history presents the step payments. The dates associated with the step payments are disbursement months, not contractual payment months. For example, if the record includes a step payment with a "Due Date" of 5/1/2022, that indicates a payment scheduled for the Trustee's May 2022 disbursement (dated May 31, 2022), intended for the June 2022 payment. (The Financials screen displays the plan-specified due date.)

The "Principal Paid" indicates the amount the Trustee has paid on the claim. (In these records, the "principal" refers to the claim amount, which may include prepetition contractual interest. The "interest" in these records refers only to the interest calculated under the plan.)

"Principal Owed" indicates the minimum amount the Trustee's records show remaining to be paid on the claim (excluding interest). For general unsecured claims, this amount may change. It reflects the amount required to satisfy the dividend set up for the case. The Trustee may adjust this dividend in his records if another plan requirement controls the minimum payment obligations. Any change to the dividend would change the Principal Owed to general unsecured creditors.

"Claimed Amount" indicates the allowed amount for the claim (reflecting any court orders that affect the allowed claim).


The Financials page displays the Trustee's records of the funds received and the disposition of those funds. Clicking the buttons across the top of the screen limits the display to the indicated type of record (such as Receipts or Disbursements).

For mortgage claims, the Description notes on this screen state the plan-specified due date of the maintenance payments disbursed. In other places, the Trustee's records state disbursement dates. (See above for an explanation of the difference between disbursement dates and plan-specified due dates.)

Plan Calc

The 13Network provides access to two plan calculation modules.

Plan calc 1 offers a basic calculator that essentially functions like a spreadsheet. Prior to plan confirmation, plan calc 1 is usually adequate. Detailed instructions are available here.

Plan calc 3 offers a more advanced module. It is usually a better option for calculations after plan confirmation. Detailed instructions are available
here. To obtain access to plan calc 3, contact Curtis McMahon at curtism@ch13bna.com or 615-244-1101 x225.

Matter Listing on 13Network

The Trustee manages court dockets using the Matter Listing system, and he provides access to that system to other parties through the 13Network. The Matters Listing is usually the best way to communicate with the Trustee's office about upcoming matters. To access the Matter Listing, select it from the main menu across the top of the screen.

Find information about using the Matter Listing under Hearings. For technical questions about the Matters Listing system, contact Curtis McMahon at curtism@ch13bna.com or 615-244-1101 x 225.

Uploading Documents

Please use the document upload portal to provide documents to the Trustee. This portal helps ensure secure handling of sensitive information.

Select the applicable document type. The system routes documents based on the type selected, so an error in the document type may delay receipt of your document.

Carefully verify the case number and the document. An error in the case number may delay receipt of the document.

You should receive email confirmation of your submission. Save a copy of this email. For documents required for the meeting of creditors, please have this record available at the meeting of creditors.

Within 48 hours after the meeting of creditors, upload the following documents under the "Documents Requested at MOC" document type: (1) Completed and signed questionnaires from each debtor in the case (including the certifications that the debtor has viewed the videos on this website); (2) a signed verification of each debtor's identification a social security number; and (3) your approval of the plan terms stated on the handwritten plan summary provided by email following the meeting of creditors.


Trustee Forms


The Trustee has a library of nonstandard plan language templates for convenience. Find information about these templates under Nonstandard Plan Language

Other documents

Above and Below median worksheets (find more information about the Trustee's 1325(b) review under Trustee Policies and Positions)

"Red Book" (What You Should Know About Your Chapter 13 Case)

Agreed Orders

Any agreed order that potentially affects the administration of a Chapter 13 plan should be approved by the Trustee.

To submit an agreed order for review:

  1. Fill in your /s/ signature on the order. (And ensure that the signature block is in accordance with Local Rule 5005-1.)

  2. Obtain approval from any other parties to the order and add their /s/ signatures.

  3. Include a signature block for the Trustee but leave the signature line blank.

  4. The Trustee's signature block:

         Henry E. Hildebrand, III
         Chapter 13 Trustee
         P.O. Box 340019
         Nashville, TN 37203
         Phone 615-244-1101; Fax 615-242-3241

  5. Convert the document to PDF format.

  6. Email the PDF document to aoecf@ch13nsh.com.

    The Trustee's orders paralegals monitor this email account and will review the order and may respond with questions or requested revisions.

  7. If the order is acceptable to the Trustee, the Trustee will add his signature and the Trustee will file the order with the Court.

    If you would like to discuss the terms of an agreed order, please contact one of the Trustee's staff attorneys.


Matter Listing

The Trustee manages Court dockets using the Matter Listing, and he provides access to other parties to pending matters. Use this form to request access.

The Matter Listing system allows parties to receive the Trustee's notes about upcoming Court hearings and to communicate with the Trustee and his staff about the matters.

Preferred Method of Communication

The Matters Listing is usually the best way to communicate with the Trustee's office about upcoming hearings. Multiple attorneys and paralegals in the Trustee's office work on these matters. Using the Matter Listing system ensures that anyone reviewing the case can see the status of the matter.

For time-sensitive communication or matters that require extensive discussion, phone or email communication may be necessary, but making a matter note as well will help avoid mistakes. The prehearing Open House provides a forum for these types of discussions as well.

How the Matter Listing Works

The Matter Listing has an entry for each matter on the Court's docket. Parties can access the online calendar by date, but the system also sends email notices (if the Trustee can locate an email address).


Whenever the Trustee or a member of the Trustee's team adds a note or updates an existing note, an email will be sent to the email addresses linked to the parties to a matter.

Please note that the online listing does not update in real time. Parties receive email notices immediately, but the online listings update overnight.


If a matter has a "disposition," it means the Trustee plans to announce the disposition to the Court.

If the listing does not have a disposition even if the text suggests a resolution parties should not assume that the Trustee will make an announcement and should plan to appear at the hearing.

Prehearing Open House

A few days before each consolidated Chapter 13 docket, the Trustee holds an "Open House" to discuss unresolved matters. You should receive an email from the Trustee's office with a Zoom link. Contact Mattie Gordon at mattieg@ch13bna.com or 615-244-1101 x250 with questions.

Trustee Procedures

Case Audit Procedures

The Trustee's Audit team conducts three full-case audits:

Bar Date Audit ("Notice of Intent" Audit). Soon after the governmental bar date usually in the seventh or eighth month of the case the audit team conducts an audit of the entire case file. The audit involves the following checks:
  • Verification that the debtor is in compliance with all requirements under the Bankruptcy Code, Rules, and Court orders;

  • Verification that all information from the petition and schedules is correct in the Trustee's records;

  • A review of the entire case docket to verify that all orders have been implemented and that no matters remain unresolved;

  • A review of all proofs of claim filed in the case and verification that the claim information is correct in the Trustee's records.
After the Bar Date Audit, the Trustee lifts "reserves" on any secured claim for which no proof of claim has been filed. (A "reserve" withholds funds each disbursement cycle that would otherwise be paid on the claim.) This process heightens the importance of timely filing proofs of claim for creditors under Rule 3004. Even if the Court permits a late filing, the Trustee may not have funds to disburse.

Mid-Case Audit. Between 18 and 24 months after the filing of the case, the Audit Team conducts a Mid-Case Audit. This audit involves a second review of the information checked at the Bar Date Audit and a similar review of any subsequent activity in the case.

The Mid-Case Audit helps to identify issues that might be difficult to resolve if not identified before the closing audit. For example, if a debtor's plan commits lawsuit or settlement proceeds and the Trustee has not received any update on the claim, the Trustee will generally request a status update following the Mid-Case Audit.

Closing Audit. After the debtor has satisfied any plan base, any minimum unsecured dividend, and any minimum unsecured pool, the Audit Team conducts a Closing Audit. This final audit involves another review of the information previously audited and a new audit of any new activity in the case. For more information on the case closing procedures, see below.

Case Closing Procedures

Case Completion Determination

The standard plan in this district requires a debtor to meet several thresholds to complete the plan:
  • Payments to specified creditors. Most plans include provisions for payments to specific creditors, such as secured creditors and creditors holding priority claims. Because the Court will confirm plans in this district prior to the bar date, satisfying the plan provisions for specific creditors sometimes requires more than estimated in the confirmed plan.

  • Plan "Base." The standard confirmation order in this district establishes a minimum "base" amount to be paid. It generally approximates the total of the proposed plan payments over the proposed plan term. To complete the plan, the debtor must pay this total amount, even if the plan would satisfy all other requirements with a lower total payment.

  • Dividend to unsecured creditors. The standard confirmation order in this district also sets a minimum dividend to nonpriority unsecured creditors (other than those separately classified). Note that the dividend is a minimum. Under the standard confirmation order, excess funds flow to allowed nonpriority unsecured creditors if available, so the actual dividend paid is often higher than the minimum required, especially if any creditors listed with unsecured claims do not file timely proofs of claim.

  • Unsecured pool. Some plans also set a minimum sum that the debtor must pay to nonpriority unsecured claims (other than those separately classified).

  • Plan length stated in the confirmation order. The standard confirmation order in this district states an approximate plan length. Because the Sixth Circuit has held that the applicable commitment period is a temporal requirement, the Trustee generally will not submit a notice of plan completion before the end of this estimated plan length. If the Trustee receives an unexpected lump sum "payoff" and disbursement of the funds under the confirmed plan that would not pay general unsecured creditors in full, the Trustee's staff will generally contact the debtor's attorney to inquire about the debtor's intent. In some cases, the debtor may file a request for approval to complete the plan early. In other case, the Trustee may request a modification to increase the plan base to reflect the excess funds.

Note: Trustee's internal procedures may require adjustments to the amounts for the dividend, plan base, or unsecured pool in the Trustee's records, so you should not rely on the amounts that appear on 13Network as a record of the specific amounts required by Court orders.

Order Declaring Mortgage Current

If a debtor's plan provides to maintain payments on a mortgage, the Trustee will generally obtain an order declaring the mortgage current before filing a notice of plan completion.

The Trustee attempts to time the motion to obtain the order in the final months of the plan, but if the creditor disputes the status, the process can cause a delay in plan completion.

Closing Audit

When a debtor has satisfied the minimum dividend, the unsecured pool, or the plan base, the Audit Team reviews the case to determine whether the plan is complete.

If the auditor determines tentatively that the debtor has satisfied the base, dividend, and any minimum unsecured pool, the auditor conducts a closing audit. (See above for additional details on the Trustee's audit procedures.) As part of that process, the Trustee may request copies of tax returns to verify compliance with a requirement to turn over tax refunds. Please respond to these requests as quickly as possible to avoid delay in issuing the notice of plan completion.

Notice of Completion and Order Releasing Wages

If the auditor verifies that the debtor has completed the plan and that the case is ready for closure, the Trustee will immediately submit for Court approval an "Order Releasing Wages."

After the Trustee makes the final disbursement of funds under the plan, the Trustee will file a Notice of Plan Completion.

Payoff Requests

None of the information on 13Network represents a formal payoff quote. To request a payoff determination, contact Karen Miles at karenm@ch13bna.com or 615-244-1101 x210.

Note that the Trustee interprets the plan length stated on the confirmation order as a temporal requirement. If a debtor attempts to pay off a plan before the completion of the plan term, completion of the plan may require a Court order. The Trustee may request additional information to determine whether a request to modify the debtor's plan would be appropriate.

Electronic Disbursement Checks

The Trustee can make disbursements of attorney's fees (and payments to some creditors) electronically. For information, contact the Finance Team Leader, Julie Matthews at 615-244-1101 x 270 or juliem@ch13bna.com.

Requests to Incur Debt

The standard confirmation order in this district includes language prohibiting debtors from incurring debt without approval from the Trustee or the Court.

To request approval from the Trustee:

  1. Send a "letter to incur" that includes the following:

    • An explanation of the need for the new debt.

    • The terms of the proposed debt, including the loan amount, the interest rate, the loan term, the regular payment amount (principal and interest and, if applicable, escrow payment), and any balloon payment requirement.

    • A signature line for the Trustee's approval.

  2. If the loan is for a mortgage, provide a copy of the Loan Estimate (the three-page form the lender is required to provide within three business days after receiving a loan application).

  3. The debtor(s) must attend the Trustee's Financial Management Workshop before the Trustee will approve new debt.

Send the request to the Trustee's Financial Counselor, Teresa Sullivan, at teresas@ch13nsh.com. Contact Teresa with any questions at 615-244-1101 x 205.

Trustee Policies and Positions

The following information is for reference only. The Trustee will evaluate each case individually and is not making any commitment to adhere to a policy or position described on this web site.

Best Interest of Creditors Test (§ 1325(a)(4))

The Trustee incorporates costs of sale, selling agent fees, and hypothetical liquidating trustee fees into his determination of the total value a plan must pay to unsecured creditors.

A worksheet for calculating these amounts is available here

Projected Disposable Income Calculation (§ 1325(b))

Section 1325(b) defines "disposable income," but the statute requires debtors to commit their projected disposable income. Based on the Supreme Court's opinion in Hamilton v. Lanning, 560 U.S. 505 (2010), the Trustee interprets this language to require a forward-looking calculation of "disposable income."

Projected Income Determination
  1. Trustee defaults to Schedule I. The definition of "disposable income" refers to "current monthly income" (CMI), a six-month average calculated in accordance with § 101(10A). But "projecting" CMI allows consideration of known or virtually certain changes.

    In practice, the Trustee generally calculates projected disposable income using the debtor's statement of projected income on Schedule I. But if that statement is inconsistent with other indicators of income, such as CMI, the debtor's pay checks, or the debtor's tax return, the Trustee may rely on CMI or request additional information.

  2. Bonus income. If a debtor receives regular bonuses, the Trustee includes an estimate of expected average monthly bonus income. Unless the debtor believes historical bonuses are not representative, the Trustee usually determines the estimated bonus income from prior amounts received. Uncertainty about the amount of bonuses is not a basis for excluding them. If the uncertainty about bonus income is great enough to create a feasibility concern, one option is to calculate a minimum dividend from a debtor's base pay and to require the debtor to turn over all bonus income to increase the plan base.
Projected Expense Determination

  1. Above/Below median. On the expense side, the calculation differs depending on whether the debtor's current monthly income is above or below the applicable median income.

    1. Below median income. For below-median-income debtors, the projected disposable income calculation begins with the statement of monthly expenses on Schedule J. If the Trustee does not contest the reasonableness of the stated expenses, the calculation of projected disposable income follows the formula laid out in the Below Median Worksheet in Forms

    2. The Trustee interprets Schedule J as a statement of the monthly expenses that the debtor expects to pay during the plan. It should not include expenses that plan provides for the Trustee to disburse, such as mortgage payments or car payments.

    3. Above median income. For above-median-income debtors, § 1325(b)(3) requires the debtor's expense deductions to be in accordance with § 707(b)(2). The Trustee's view is that the "projected" calculation follows the same formula, but it may reflect known or virtually certain changes to the inputs.

      1. Expenses controlled by standards. For expenses controlled by the IRS Collection Financial Standards, the "projected" calculation would not replace the standards with actual expenses, but it might change the applicable standard. For example, if a debtor had a child postpetition, the applicable "projected" standards could reflect the new dependent. But a debtor starting a new lease would not change the projected expense calculation even if the actual rental expense exceeds the IRS standard because the applicable IRS standard remains the same and remains controlling.

      2. Expenses not controlled by standards. For the expenses not controlled by IRS standards under § 707(b)(2), the "projected" determination is more likely to reflect actual, anticipated expenses.

        1. The projected expenses, however, would be limited in any way that the statute would limit expenses in the "disposable income" calculation. For example, projected expenses for elementary or secondary school should not exceed the limits under § 707(b)(2)(A)(ii)(IV).

        2. The deductions would not necessarily represent the average amount expended in the six-month CMI period. For example, if a debtor has a monthly child support obligation that is expected to terminate during the plan term, the appropriate deduction would not be the full monthly obligation, even if the debtor paid the full amount each month prior to filing. Instead, the "projected" calculation should reflect the anticipated termination: (monthly payment x remaining months) / 60 = monthly deduction.

    4. Taxes. The amount deducted for taxes in the projected disposable income calculation should align with the projected income. On Form 22C-2, the Trustee does not object to simply stating projected taxes on line 16 (even if the projected tax expense does not align with CMI). But if the debtor does not do that and intends to rely on lower projected income, the debtor should note the (presumably lower) projected tax expense in Part 3 of the Official Form.

      The amount deducted for taxes should take into account any anticipated tax refunds. For example, if a debtor's employer withholds $1,000 monthly for taxes, but the debtor expects to receive a tax refund of $2,400, the appropriate deduction would be $800. Note, however, that, if the debtor's plan commits tax refunds to increase the plan base, this adjustment is not necessary (as long as the deduction states the projected withholding).

  2. Tax Refunds. Because tax refunds fall outside of regular monthly budgets, the Trustee has a general policy of objecting to confirmation of a plan if the debtor proposes to retain tax refunds unless the debtor guarantees a minimum dividend of at least 20% to general unsecured creditors. In this situation, the tax refunds would increase the plan base. (See here for additional information about turnover of tax refunds).

  3. Retirement contributions and loans.

    1. Voluntary contributions. Review of voluntary contributions is a case-by-case matter, but the Trustee generally does not object to the continuation of contributions at a rate that the debtor maintained for a significant period of time prepetition.

    2. Retirement loan repayment. The Trustee does not object to a deduction for the repayment of prepetition retirement loans. If the loan matures during the plan term, however, the appropriate deduction should account for the termination of the payments. The easiest way to do that is to calculate the deduction in the same manner as secured debt deductions ((monthly payment x remaining months) / 60) = monthly deduction. If the initial payments (before the loan maturity) would not be feasible under this approach, it is possible to provide for a step up in the plan payments, but the debtor would be responsible for ensuring that the payment step up occurs on time.

  4. Above/Below median worksheets. The Trustee prepares worksheets for meetings of creditors that summarize the projected disposable income calculation. Blank worksheets are available in the Forms section. Worksheets prepared for individual cases are available on request.

Electronic Plan Payments (TFS)

The Trustee encourages debtors to make payments using a payroll deduction order if possible. But, as an alternative, the Trustee is generally willing to accept plan payments through TFS (www.tfsbillpay.com) if the debtor commits to scheduling a recurring payment. Please note that TFS is a third-party provider that charges for its service and is not affiliated with the Trustee's Office or the Court. Information about TFS is available through its web site.

TFS Processing Time

Because TFS is an agent of the debtor, payments initiated through TFS are not made until they reach the Trustee, so debtors should take note of the processing time for TFS payments. The basic TFS Billpay option takes a minimum of 5 business days to complete. That means it takes at least a week for a payment withdrawn from the debtor's account to reach the Trustee. If a holiday falls during that period, it takes even longer. TFS does offer a faster option (for a higher fee) using Moneygram.

Tax Refunds

A confirmation order or other court order may provide for turnover of tax refunds. If so, the Trustee will generally obtain an order directing the IRS to intercept any tax refunds that would otherwise be paid to the debtor.

Effect on Plan Base

The order requiring tax refunds may provide for the refunds to increase the plan base. If so, the receipt of tax refunds does not reduce the base balance (it does not get the debtor any closer to satisfying the base). Instead, the refunds increase the amount available to pay claims and generally increase the dividend paid to nonpriority unsecured creditors. The Trustee generally requests this type of turnover when the debtor's plan guarantees a dividend of less than 20% to general unsecured creditors. See here for more information about the Trustee's policies regarding projected disposable income.

If the order requiring turnover of tax refunds does not provide for the refunds to increase the base, the refunds reduce the base balance and bring the debtor closer to satisfying that plan requirement. The Trustee generally requests this type of turnover as part the resolution of a motion to dismiss the plan when the debtor has not cured the default. The general idea is that the tax refunds should help to get the plan back on track.

Refunds to Debtors

The Trustee may be able to return a portion of a debtor's tax refund if it represents a refundable tax credit. In order to do so, however, the Trustee must have a copy of the applicable tax return to determine the amount of the earned income credit. If the debtor has not provided a copy of the tax return within 30 days after the filing of the return, the Trustee may assume either that the refund does not include any potentially refundable amounts or that the debtor consents to the contribution of the full refund to the plan.

Joint Tax Refunds

In an individual case if the Trustee receives a tax refund payable jointly to the debtor and the debtor's nonfiling spouse, the Trustee generally files a motion with the Court to apply the entire tax refund in accordance with the plan.

If a debtor and spouse provide copies of their income reporting (such as Form W-2s and Form 1099s), the Trustee is generally agreeable to an allocation based on the debtor's percentage of total income.

Nonstandard Plan Language and templates

Part 9 of the model Chapter 13 plan adopted in this district provides the method of proposing nonstandard language. (Be sure to check the notice box on the first page of the plan if it contains nonstandard language.)

Carefully review the plan form and do not include language in Part 9 that duplicates standard language included in the local form. The standard plan language now includes the following provisions, so they should not be duplicated in Part 9:

  • "Mortgage language" - language providing for automatic adjustments in accordance with notices of mortgage payment change and requiring mortgage creditors to apply arrearage disbursements to the arrearage and to treat the obligation as current. See § 3.1 of the local plan form.

  • Provision for 1305 claims. See § 5.5 of the local plan form.


    The Trustee has a library of nonstandard plan language templates for convenience:

  • Student loan IDR language. The Trustee and members of the bar developed template language relating to income-driven-repayment plans for student loans. The Department of Education has reviewed this template language, and it is generally acceptable to the Trustee (subject to case-by-case review). Template language available here.

  • IAFCO language. If the plan provides for a new IAFCO loan, the Trustee will assume that it includes the nonstandard language that IAFCO has informed the Trustee is a requirement of participation in its program. Template language available here.

  • TFS language. If the plan provides for payment using TFS, the Trustee will request the following language in Part 9: "The debtor(s) shall employ the TFS system to effect regularly pre-scheduled payments no less frequently than monthly and shall activate the TFS system within 14 days of this order. Debtor's counsel shall assist as necessary."

Electronic Plan Payments (TFS)

The Trustee encourages debtors to make payments using a payroll deduction order if possible. But, as an alternative, the Trustee is generally willing to accept plan payments through TFS (www.tfsbillpay.com) if the debtor commits to scheduling a recurring payment. Please note that TFS is a third-party provider that charges for its service and is not affiliated with the Trustee's Office or the Court. Information about TFS is available through its web site.

TFS Processing Time

Because TFS is an agent of the debtor, payments initiated through TFS are not made until they reach the Trustee, so debtors should take note of the processing time for TFS payments. The basic TFS Billpay option takes a minimum of 5 business days to complete. That means it takes at least a week for a payment withdrawn from the debtor's account to reach the Trustee. If a holiday falls during that period, it takes even longer. TFS does offer a faster option (for a higher fee) using Moneygram.

Other Resources

Trustee's Roundtable

The Trustee hosts a monthly roundtable for members of the local Chapter 13 bankruptcy bar. The Trustee usually invites a speaker to discuss a specific topic and opens the floor to discussion of other issues of interest or concern to the bar. If you would like to receive notice of upcoming roundtables (and other Trustee communication with the bar), send a request to Lynne Binkley at lynneb@ch13bna.com.

Nashville Bar Association

The NBA Bankruptcy Court Committee and Local Rules Subcommittees are a good resource for staying informed about local Bankruptcy Court practices and developments. If you would like to receive notice of upcoming committee and subcommittee meetings, contact the NBA or the chair of the committee or subcommittee.

  • Bankruptcy Court Committee chair:Austin McMullen (amcmullen@bradley.com)
  • Local Rules Subcommittee chair: Maggie Reidy (maggier@ch13bna.com)

    NACTT Academy

    The Academy is an online consumer bankruptcy education resource that is affiliated with the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT). Full access requires a subscription, but the Academy offers some free material, including webinars

    Priority Insurance

    Priority Insurance is an insurance product that can be paid through the plan and put in place immediately.

    Note that Priority Insurance represents casualty insurance only and does not include the liability insurance required by state law.

    Priority Insurance is a third-party provider, not affiliated with the Trustee or the Court. For more information contact:
    Renee Gill
    Priority Insurance Agency Inc.
    1355 Lynnfield Rd. Suite 160
    Memphis, TN 38119
    (866) 829-4323
    (901) 214-3900
    Fax (901) 214-3933

    Meridian Bankruptcy Program (Post-petition auto lender)

    Meridian Bankruptcy Program (formerly IAFCO,LLC) provides automobile loans to debtors in active bankruptcy proceedings. Find more information here.

    Meridian is a third-party provider, not affiliated with the Trustee or the Court. For more information, contact Susan Faulkner at 615-360-6976 or susan@meridianbuyersgroup.com.


    TFS is a third party that provides a payment processing system for Chapter 13 plan payments. Find information about TFS on its web site (www.tfsbillpay.com). Find information about the Trustee's policies regarding TFS here.

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