By: Justin Saporito, Law Clerk and Salene Mazur Kraemer, Owner
What fees are associated with filing a Chapter 11 case? Aside from payment of attorneys’ fees (which can be steep), there are filing fees and ongoing quarterly administrative fees.
For a chapter 11 case, quarterly fees must be paid to the U.S. Trustee each quarter, or fraction thereof, until that case is closed, dismissed, or converted. These fees are in addition to the filing fee that must be paid by the debtor. The amount owed by the debtor is based upon the amount of disbursements made during the quarter starting at a minimum of $325 with a maximum of $30,000. (Complete breakdown of quarterly fees w/ instructions.) Again we repeat, there is a minimum payment of at least $325 a quarter. If significant assets are sold, a debtor may be looking at a quarterly fee up to $13,000 or even $30,000 to be made payable to the U.S. Trustee’s office. The fee schedule is uniform for all Federal Judicial Districts that are a part of the U.S. Trustee Program which includes all Federal Judicial Districts except for Alabama and North Carolina.
Quarterly fee bills are mailed to the debtor by the U.S. Trustee at the end of each quarter with instructions on how to determine the amount of fees owed. These fees are due on the last day of the calendar month following the calendar quarter. The minimum fee is due even if no disbursements were made that quarter and failure to pay a quarterly fee is cause for conversion or dismissal of the chapter 11 case. Failure to receive an invoice does not excuse the obligation to timely pay U.S. Trustee’s fees. Debtor’s counsel should contact the Office of the U.S. Trustee If a quarterly bill is not received, unless counsel for the debtor has executed an authorization allowing the U.S. Trustee to discuss the issue of quarterly fees with the debtor.
For payments made by check, the payment is converted to an electronic funds transfer (EFT). This means that the account information will be copied from the check to electronically debit the debtor’s account for the amount of the check. The debit usually occurs within 24 hours after which the original check is destroyed. A copy of the check will be made by the U.S. Trustee’s Office however. If the EFT cannot be process due to technical reasons, the debtor authorizes the U.S. Trustee’s Office to process the copy in place of the original check. If the EFT cannot be completed due to insufficient funds, two more attempts to make the transfer may be made.
TIPS FOR THE CHAPTER 11 DEBTOR: Payment of these U.S. Trustees fees is important. The U.S. Trustee is an agent of the Department of Justice. He or she is a lawyer who plays a critical and influential role in every Chapter 11 Case (more on this later). Do not overlook paying these fees or responding to any requests made by a U.S. Trustee. If a Debtor ignores such requests or fails to pay U.S. Trustee fees, the Debtor can almost be certain that a Motion to Dismiss the Case or Convert the Chapter 11 Case to Chapter 7 Case (liquidation) will be forthcoming.