Chapter 12, added to the Bankruptcy Code in 1986 may be initiated only voluntarily and is available only to a "family farmer" whose debts do not exceed $1,500,000. At least 80 percent of the debts (other than debts on the principal residence unless the debt arose out of a farming operation) must have arisen out of a farming operation owned or operated by the debtor or debtor and spouse. Moreover, an individual debtor or debtor and spouse must have earned more than 50 percent of their gross income from farming for the preceding taxable year. Closely held corporations and partnerships may also be eligible debtors if similar tests are met except that no gross income test applies to those entities.



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