|Reprinted from the May 2006 ABI Journal
||May 1, 2006
Web posted and Copyright © May 1, 2006, American Bankruptcy
Were Chapter 11 Fees Increased?
Ann vom Eigen
Deputy Executive Director
and General Counsel
lthough the checks and balances of the Senate and the House legislative process
are supposed to assure that many eyes scrutinize legislative language, the practical
reality is otherwise. Extended negotiations, late-night agreements and parliamentary
limitations on the adoption of floor amendments often contribute to drafting
errors that can seem quite obvious and irrational in real life. The listed confluence
of events all seem to have contributed to the confusion surrounding this April
9's bankruptcy filing fee schedules. Increases are now in effect for chapter
7 and 13 filing fees, while chapter 11 fees were not increased. While some have
surmised that Congress must have intended to raise the chapter 11 fees, the
statute did not.
In its annual effort to reduce the federal budget deficit, Congress often scrutinizes
federal agency budgets for potential revenue and fee increases. Bankruptcy filing
fees have not been immune to this effort; thus, bankruptcy filing fees were
increased in the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA).
Most recently, increases in bankruptcy filing fees were also included in the
federal budget bill considered this year—the Deficit Reduction Act of
2005. Total chapter 7 filing fees were increased to $299, and chapter 13 fees
were increased to $274.
Although Congress appears to have intended to raise the fees for chapter 11
when it increased chapter 7 and 13 filing fees, the actual statute does not
reference the correct sections but instead references the statutory subsection
prescribing the chapter 9 fee. Consequently, congressional attempts to increase
the chapter 11 fee failed. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts is taking
the position that fees that are not affected by changes in the Deficit Reduction
Act will remain at the current level. Congress does not plan to take action
to increase these fees at the present time.
Several bankruptcy court miscellaneous fees are linked to the statutory fee
changes, but are at the discretion of the Judicial Conference, which in March
agreed to stay all increases in miscellaneous fees until the Court Administration
and Case Management and Bankruptcy Committees have an opportunity to review
all the increases at their June meetings. The fee schedule can be accessed at