Loan repayments to a 401k plan cannot be used as a budget expense on the means test.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today, in the case of In re Egebjerg, that 401k loans are not a debt as defined in the bankruptcy code and as such, the amount of any loan repayment cannot be considered in calculating a debtor’s budget/ability to repay his/her debts.

The basic rationale is that since a 401k loan is repaying funds to the owner of the 401k, it is not an actual debt, and the funds used to repay it are not a necessary living expense.

There are tax consequences for failure to repay a 401k loan, and these may be able to be argued as an offset, but the loan repayment itself cannot be used to determine  eligibility to file a chapter 7 case.

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