Tax Season

Please submit “all” income tax returns using
All tax returns and W2’s must redact the SS number for the debtor(s) and any dependents. – on ALL pages
Be sure to provide all Federal, State and City if applicable returns including all W-2 statements.
Please submit the returns in proper order and make sure that the scanned copies are legible.
If the debtor(s) file an extension please submit a copy to our office via as well. You may use the tax return upload option.  

If your client will be asking to retain the refunds DO NOT include the refund request forms with the uploaded tax returns. You will want to submit the refund request forms (with supporting documentation) to the appropriate case analysts via email.

BG -
GM, GK, DL, DK         -

Announcement of new case assignments related to Motion Days.
There will be no changes to the 341 assignments.
Commencing April 20, 2015 our office dockets will be handled as follows.

GL, DM, GG and GK dockets will be assigned to Barb Foley.
She will preparing for and attending hearings on these dockets.
The case analyst assignments will remain the same.
GL – Heidi Laser
DM, GG and GK – Kristi Stonerock

The DK and BG dockets will be split up between the two staff attorneys.
Confirmation and misc. matters will be assigned to Kurt Steinke. He will be preparing for and attending hearings on these dockets for all cases.
Dismissals will be assigned to Courtney Roberts. She will be preparing for these hearings but Kurt will attend the actual hearings.
The case analyst assignments will remain the same.
DK – Shannon Poortenga
BG – Cindy Collins Jenkins

Naturally, there will be overlap at times.


      1.  All tax returns should have the SS numbers redacted. If the SS is not redacted our office will reject the returns.

      2.  If you submit the tax returns electronically they should be submitted as follows:

                       a.  Gregg Cases –

                       b.  Boyd Cases –

                       c.  Dales Cases –

      3.  All requests to retain refunds with supporting documentation should be submitted as follows:



       Chapter 13 Trustee


      February 1, 2015

      Effective February 1, 2015, any and all documents, pleadings or information (including adjournment requests) necessary to resolve a hearing must be received in the Trustee’s office by 11:30 a.m. two days before the hearing.

      Trustee's office may not process documents, pleadings or information (including adjournment requests) received after 11:30 a.m. two days before the hearing.

      Your appearance in court is required for any hearings not resolved by 11:30 a.m. two days before the hearing in the case.

      Thank you.


      Case assignments:               GL-- Heidi Laser/Barbara Foley
                                                      BG -- Cindy Collins- Jenkins/Kurt Steinke
                                                      DK -- Shannon Poortenga/Courtney Roberts
                                                      GG -- Kristi Stonerock/Kurt Steinke
                                                      GK -- Kristi Stonerock/Barbara Foley
                                                      DM -- Kristi Stonerock/Barbara Foley 

      Email address available on Trustee Website at


      If you practice bankruptcy law in the Western District of Michigan
      you are invited and encouraged to attend the

      BANKRUPTCY BEST PRACTICES SEMINAR 2014 The United States Trustee for the Western District of Michigan is pleased to present the following program of free seminars for the benefit of the Bar of the Western District of Michigan.

      WHO SHOULD ATTEND? The intended audience for these workshops consists of all attorneys who practice bankruptcy law in the Western District of Michigan. (Legal support staff are welcome to attend as well provided that they are accompanied by their supervising attorney.) The goal of the workshops is to help attendees improve
      their practice before the Bankruptcy Court and at the meetings of creditors. Both Chapters 13 and 7 will be covered.

      WHEN? Sessions will be presented in each city listed below according to the following schedule:

      Thursday, September 18, 2014,   1 - 4 p.m.,    Traverse City (NMC Hagerty Center)

      Tuesday, September 23, 2014,   12- 3 p.m.    Marquette (Peter White Library)

      Friday, September 26, 2014,     1 - 4 p.m.   Lansing (Federal Post Office and Courthouse Basement  Meeting Room )

      Tuesday, September 30, 2014,   1 - 4 p.m.   Kalamazoo (Fetzer Center)

      Monday, October 27, 2014,  1 -4 p.m.   Grand Rapids (GVSU Eberhard Center)

      COST? The seminars are free, but you must pre-register to attend.

      HOW TO REGISTER? To register, complete the attached registration form and promptly fax, mail or email the registration form to the Office of the United States Trustee. Approximately one week before the designated seminar, you will be sent a confirmation letter with directions to the seminar location.

      QUESTIONS? If you have additional questions, please call (616) 456-2002, ext. 128 to speak with Ms. Sarah Garrett, or email Ms. Garrett at



      SEPTEMBER 8, 2014

      8:30 – 5:00

      GVSU Eberhard Center


      COST: $35 for FBA members

      $70 for non-members

      Lunch included

      Register now - Space is limited


      Download Registration Form


      After a miserable winter it looks like we are headed into spring. As spring brings change, so we are seeing changes in the chapter 13 office.

      The first noteworthy change is in personnel. As most of you know Manish left us in January. Courtney Roberts joined our staff at that time as staff attorney. I am delighted to be able to bring someone with Courtney’s legal experience, particularly in the bankruptcy area, on staff.

      Also noteworthy in the area of personnel changes, our long time closing auditor, Dot Herring, is retiring in April. You may have had contact with Dot in the closing stages of a chapter 13 case. Dot has meticulously reviewed files for the chapter 13 office for many years, making sure the funds paid into the cases were distributed to the creditors as the debtors proposed and providing assistance to debtor attorneys in determine where there might be problems in the case funding. We will miss Dot’s thorough reviews and also her pleasant personality and terrific work ethic. Carol Miller will be taking over the closing audit duties from Dot. You will find Carol equally willing to help with issues presented in your chapter 13 files.

      Additional changes in this chapter 13 office include a new letter to the debtors regarding their duty to turn over income tax returns and refunds. You can find this letter in the forms to download section of the website. The letter stresses the responsibility of the debtor to send to their attorney a copy of everything sent to the Trustee.

      Regarding income tax returns, you may have noticed I am now filing motions to modify plans if the debtors’ income significantly increased over the last year. We are seeing the impact of an improving economy on the incomes of debtors. While I am not looking at every case with an increased income to increase plan payments, if there is an increase in income over $10,000.00 annually, I will closely review the circumstances to see if the modification for plan payment increase is appropriate.

      I could not close this note without mentioning the changes for all of us to come with our two new judges. Best wishes to Jim Boyd and John Gregg as they take on the new responsibilities of their judicial positions. Certainly, we will all experience some changes in the months to come. As we go forward, please know, this office is committed to providing to the chapter 13 debtors, their attorneys, the court and the rest of the bankruptcy community we serve, prompt, efficient and legally correct administration of chapter 13 cases.


      At the summer FBA seminar, attorneys and the chapter 13 Trustees discussed possible changes to the model chapter 13 plan for the Western District. The power point presentation of the meeting can be found here Chapter 13 Model Plan Proposed Changes 2013.

      The meeting agenda was as follows:

      1. Agreed substantive changes

      2. Needed technical changes

      3. Other substantive issues

      4. Next Step

      The agreed substantive changes can be found on the model plan proposed changes for 2013 on this website but include:

      • Allowing for the change in the monthly payment amount based on the POC.

      • Changing to allow the plan to act as POC - thus allowing for disbursement if no POC filed by the mortgage company.

      • Providing no interest paid on mortgage arrears.

      • Allowing use of the POC to establish the contract rate of interest in "cram down" and "non-cram down" claims (Secured Claims Subject to 11 U.S.C. Section 506).

      • Fixes interest rate on the tax debt (always subject to statutorily set rates).

      • Limiting on notice to creditors and others.

      • Clarifying the accrual of creditor payments on the filing of the amended plan.

      • Filing of deficiency claims.

      The proposed technical changes can be noted on the Power point, but for the most part deal with numbering issues and syntax matters. Please review.

      Finally, the remaining substantive issues of interest. No decision was made for these but comments were solicited.

      • Change IV.B to have property of the estate vest by default with the debtor, so that it matches 11 U.S.C. Sec. 1327(b), except property necessary for the execution of the plan?

      • Special Unsecured section: Confusing?

        • Premise: applies to 36 month ACP cases only. Allows Debtors to use the plan-keep the stay in place - after 36 month ACP to pay non-dischargeable debts exclusively.

        • These debts remain non-dischargeable and any portion not paid (including accrued interest, if applicable) remains non-dischargeable.

        • Not applicable for 60 month ACP.

      • Any issues from lien stripped creditors on the model plan language?

      • It has been suggested the model plan may be used to avoid issues with the application of 3002.1 Possible language:

        • "the requirements and provisions of FRBP 3002.1 shall not apply to any property that the Plan as confirmed surrenders to the Creditors as provided in 11 USC Section 1325(a)(5)( C); or to any property as to which the Stay is lifted..."

      • Model plan amendment form (see PowerPoint presentation slides).

      Next Steps:

      • 30 day review of all proposed provisions.

      • Comments, if any, to Brett or Barb by 8/25/2013

      • Dissemination of final modification by 9/1/2013 for implementation beginning 9/1/2013?

      This year the chapter 13 office has three big projects to tackle. Each project will impact the Debtor attorney practice in some way.

      1. EPay for Debtors:  The E-Pay process will allow Debtors to initiate an ACH withdrawal from their account and pay directly to the chapter 13 trustee account.  This process is different from the periodic ACH payment process set up for specific days. The E-Pay will allow the Debtors, by access through the Chapter 13 Trustee website, to initiate a payment directly from the Debtors’ Bank account to the Trustee bank.   The withdrawal from the Debtors’ account will occur the day after the Debtors initiate the action.  The payment will post to the Debtor’s chapter 13 case within the next two days.   I see this as a convenience for the debtor for payment of tax refunds, other disposable income, lump sum payments or to make a catch up payment in the event of regular payment disruption.   While this process is not ideally suited for the regular plan payment, it can be used for this purpose as well.  This process is now available at the following link Epay Online Payment.

      2. Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT): The EFT process allows me to pay money out electronically to creditors and to debtor attorneys. The benefit to me as trustee is the reduction in cost of printing and mailing the checks, as well as shortening the time for running checks. The benefit to the creditor and to the debtor attorney is that the funds may reach the accounts of the creditors’ or attorneys’ accounts up to 7days sooner. I plan to have the EFT for attorney fees in place by June 2013. Please contact me if you are interested in signing up for this payment process.

      3. Document upload process: We are investigating other options for uploading documents needed for chapter 13 cases to the chapter 13 office. I am particularly interested in a process that will allow both the attorney office and my staff to verify that all documents transmitted to my office have been attached to and identified in the correct chapter 13 cases. I expect to implement this new upload process by September 2013.

      It is our goal to assist the Debtors and Debtors’ Attorneys is the efficient processing of the chapter 13 cases. I am anxious to hear from you regarding your ideas or concerns. (Posted: March 7, 2013)

      Step Forward Michigan
      Homeowners who have filed for bankruptcy protection may be eligible for assistance in Michigan if the following is provided:

      1. acknowledgement from the Bankruptcy Court that the bankruptcy case has been dismissed or discharged, or

      2. authorization from the Bankruptcy Court permitting the debtor to: (a) execute the MHA Note (terms outlined above), (b) execute and record a MHA Mortgage Lien on the principal residence, and (c) accept Hardest Hit Funds® assistance that will be paid directly to the mortgage lender.

      You may submit the Stipulated Motion to Modify Plan to Permit Execution of Mortgage Note and Lien and Allow Recordation of Executed Mortgage Note and Lien for Trustee approval.(Posted: February 11, 2013)

      Policy Update: Income Tax Returns and Refunds
      Our office is pleased to announce a change in policy regarding the retention of income tax refunds. In order to qualify for this procedure, the confirmed plan must include the following language: "Based on the disposable income available the Trustee shall have the discretion without further notice to creditors to … determine if tax refunds are disposable income."

      If the confirmed Plan includes this language, then you may submit the Debtors Refund Request Form and supporting documentation to the appropriate case analyst for review. The Trustee's office will file this form with ECF and identify if it is approved or denied. You will receive a copy of the Refund Request Form via electronic notification from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.(Posted: August 20, 2012)