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Chapter 13 “Super” Discharge Shrinks

Prior to pas­sage of the 2005 bankruptcy reform laws, a Chapter 13 discharge was refer­red to as a "super" discharge. The Chap­ter 13 discharge was "super" because several types of debts that were not discharge­able in Chapter 7 were dischargeable in Chapter 13. A Chap­ter 13 discharge was much broader in scope than a Chapter 7 discharge.

The bankruptcy reform laws drastically narrowed the scope of the Chapter 13 discharge. Several of the types of debts that were dischargeable in Chapter 13 were eliminated. After bankruptcy reform, a Chapter 13 discharge is no longer "super."

The following table presents a summary comparison of the types of debts that are dis­chargeable in a Chapter 7 and 13 cases, and the changes made by bankruptcy reform.

Type of Debt

Is the debt dischargeable

in bankruptcy?

Yes or No

Old (Pre-

Reform) Law

Current

Law

Ch. 7

or 11

Ch.

 13

Ch. 7

or 11

Ch.

13

Child Support and Alimony Obligations

No

No

No

No

Civil Fines & Penalties

No

Yes

No

Yes

Criminal Fines & Restitution

No

No

No

No

Divorce Decree Debts

No

Yes

No

Yes

Drunk Drivers Causing Death or Injury

No

No

No

No

Embezzlement, Theft or Breach of Fiduciary Duty

No*

Yes

No*

No*

Fraud and False Financial Statements

No*

Yes

No*

No*

Student Loans

No

No

No

No

Tax Debts 

● Less than 3 Years Old

No

No

No

No

● Required Return Was Never Filed

No

Yes

No

No

● Tax Fraud and Willful Evasion

No

Yes

No

No

● Employment / Trust Fund Taxes

No

Yes

No

No

Debts Incurred to Pay Non-Dischargeable Federal Taxes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Debts Incurred to Pay Non-Dischargeable State or Local Tax

New – Added by BAPCPA

No

Yes

Unlisted Debts

No

No

No

No

Waiver or Denial of Discharge in Prior Case

No

Yes

No

Yes

Welfare Repayment Obligations

No

Yes

No

Yes

Willful & Malicious Injury – to

● Persons

No*

Yes

No*

No

● Property

No*

Yes

No*

Yes

* These debts require the creditor to file a lawsuit in bankruptcy court to establish that the debt exists and that it is non-dischargeable. All other debts are automatically non-dischargeable.