What Is the Cost to File Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania?

by John Csiszar ; Updated July 27, 2017

While the federal filing fees for bankruptcy are the same whether you are in Pennsylvania or any other state, the additional costs of filing bankruptcy can vary widely. Factors affecting your cost include whether or not you retain an attorney, which bankruptcy counseling services you use and which chapter of bankruptcy you file.

Credit Counseling

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Customer Protection Act of 2005, also known as BAPCPA, implemented a mandatory credit counseling provision for debtors wishing to file bankruptcy. In order to avoid dismissal of your case, you must attend an authorized credit counseling session within the 180 days before you file your bankruptcy petition. You can get a list of approved service providers from your local bankruptcy district in Pennsylvania. Typical costs for this class range from about $15 to $70.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy in which you can receive a discharge of most or all of your debts in exchange for turning over any valuable property to your bankruptcy trustee. Both the federal government and the state of Pennsylvania provide tables listing property you can exempt from liquidation, and you can choose the set of exemptions most favorable to your situation. To file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, you must pay a $299 fee. This fee includes a $245 filing fee, a $39 administrative fee and a $15 trustee surcharge.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an alternative to Chapter 7 and it allows you to keep your property. In exchange, you must develop a court-approved payment plan that assigns your disposable income toward repayment of your creditors. Filing fees for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania are $274, the same as in all other states.

Attorney Fees

Attorney fees can range dramatically from about $750 for the simplest no-asset Chapter 7 cases to $4,000 and up for Chapter 13 cases. The cost of your attorney will vary depending on many factors, including the reputation of the attorney, the difficulty of your case and where you live. For example, lawyers in rural areas of Pennsylvania will typically charge less than those in coastal urban centers such as New York and Los Angeles.

Financial Management Course

After you file your bankruptcy petition, you must complete a financial management course. This is another provision of the BAPCPA legislation of 2005 and is in addition to the pre-petition counseling course. Many of the same approved providers for the counseling class will also offer the financial management course for fees in the range of $15 to $70.

About the Author

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA, John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served 18 years as an investment adviser. Csiszar has served as a technical writer for various financial firms and has extensive experience writing for online publications.