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How to Protect a Struggling Business By Filing Chapter 11

How to Protect a Struggling Business By Filing Chapter 11
Edited by Kamini Fox

In a recent interview I was asked how someone with a struggling business can get a second chance if they file for Chapter 11.

When asked to elaborate, I said, “In certain cases, formally restructuring a business and its debts through r a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy can be the best and sometimes the only way to keep a business from closing its doors.”

One of the most critical things offered by Chapter 11 is breathing space.

“Business owners often feel stifled and helpless with the threat of creditors, including the IRS or state tax agencies, seizing their assets or foreclosing on property they own. Once the business files into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, an automatic stay shields businesses from these and other collection efforts,” I said.

This buys a business time to restructure its operation and debt, which is a significant benefit offered by Chapter 11.

When asked to comment further, I said, “This restructuring could take the form of reducing the number of staff in a company or making operational decisions that lower expenses and widen the profit margins.”

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“The ultimate goal of Chapter 11 is to propose a debt repayment plan that, if approved by the Bankruptcy Court, binds creditors to the plan’s terms, and shields the business from unexpected collection efforts,” I said.

Chapter 11 also allows for businesses to restructure their pre-bankruptcy tax and mortgage debt.

When asked about the benefits of this, I commented, “Under Chapter 11, businesses can gradually pay back their tax debt through installments over a five-year period from the filing date of the Chapter 11 case.”

I added that certain types of mortgages and other secured debts could be restructured and interest rates lowered, and others could be wiped clear and made into unsecured debt.

“While filing for Chapter 11 could be the thing that saves your company from collapse, the process is complex as every business is different. If you think that filing for Chapter 11 is the best way to forward, we recommend consulting with an experienced Bankruptcy attorney,” I added.

About the author

Kamini Fox

Ms. Fox has practiced in the area of bankruptcy, corporate restructuring, and creditors’ rights for over 10 years. Prior to her association with Ackerman Fox, LLP, Ms. Fox was also the Former Managing Bankruptcy Attorney at Berkman, Henoch, Peterson, Peddy & Fenchel, P.C.