I am a bankruptcy attorney and I would be happy to assist you. If you were to file a personal bankruptcy
, you are correct that your sole shareholder status would allow the trustee
control over the non-exempt assets, such as an operating account. However, wages, salaries, or commissions, including vacation, severance and sick leave owed to employees are considered a priority debt. The caveat is that there is a limit on the priority amount. Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §507(a)(4), the priority amount is limited to $10,000 for each individual employee that is earned within 180 days before you file your bankruptcy petition
or before your business ended, whichever occurred first. Thus, the trustee would be required to pay your employees if you owed them any money. The IRS would also have priority. However, this applies to money owed at time of filing, not after.
Additionally, you could use Ohio exemptions to exempt at least $1,475 in cash either in your personal or business account (using the wildcard and cash exemptions together).
If you went into bankruptcy not paying yourself right before, you could also exempt the wages owed to yourself, as long as the amount was: "If paid weekly, thirty times the current federal minimum hourly wage; if paid biweekly, sixty times the current federal minimum hourly wage; if paid semimonthly, sixty-five times the current federal minimum hourly wage; or if paid monthly, one hundred thirty times the current federal minimum hourly wage that is in effect at the time the earnings are payable, as prescribed by the "Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938," 52 Stat. 1060, 29 U.S.C. 206(a)(1), as amended." See, O.R.C 2329.66(13)(a). You can find all the exemptions at ORC 2329.66.
The accounts receivable are not exempt; however, if the trustee feels the amount is too low to take action on, then they will simply abandon those assets. This is is completely dependent in which trustee you are assigned and how motivated they are to make money. Some trustees won't go after assets if they are under $1,000 and some don't care if it is under $2,500.
Also, don't forget the preference rules regarding the payment to creditors in the 90 days before you file.
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