Rule 1020. Small Business Chapter 11 Reorganization Case

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(a) Small Business Debtor Designation.In a voluntary chapter 11 case, the debtor shall state in the petition whether the debtor is a small business debtor and, if so, whether the debtor elects to have subchapter V of chapter 11 apply. In an involuntary chapter 11 case, the debtor shall file within 14 days after entry of the order for relief a statement as to whether the debtor is a small business debtor and, if so, whether the debtor elects to have subchapter V of chapter 11 apply. The status of the case as a small business case or a case under subchapter V of chapter 11 shall be in accordance with the debtor’s statement under this subdivision, unless and until the court enters an order finding that the debtor’s statement is incorrect.

(b) Objecting to Designation. The United States trustee or a party in interest may file an objection to the debtor’s statement under subdivision (a) no later than 30 days after the conclusion of the meeting of creditors held under § 341(a) of the Code, or within 30 days after any amendment to the statement, whichever is later.

(c) Procedure for Objection or Determination. Any objection or request for a determination under this rule shall be governed by Rule 9014 and served on: the debtor; the debtor’s attorney; the United States trustee; the trustee; the creditors included on the list filed under Rule 1007(d) or, if a committee has been appointed under § 1102(a)(3), the committee or its authorized agent; and any other entity as the court directs.


(Added Apr. 11, 1997, eff. Dec. 1, 1997; amended Apr. 23, 2008, eff. Dec. 1, 2008; Mar. 26, 2009, eff. Dec. 1, 2009.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1997

This rule is designed to implement §§1121(e) and 1125(f) that were added to the Code by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994.

GAP Report on Rule 1020. The phrase “or by a later date as the court, for cause, may fix” at the end of the published draft was deleted. The general provisions on reducing or extending time periods under Rule 9006 will be applicable.

Committee Notes on Rules—2008 Amendment

Under the Code, as amended in 2005, there are no longer any provisions permitting or requiring a small business debtor to elect to be treated as a small business. Therefore, the election provisions in the rule are eliminated.

The 2005 amendments to the Code include several provisions relating to small business cases under chapter 11. Section 101 includes definitions of “small business debtor” and “small business case.” The purpose of the new language in this rule is to provide a procedure for informing the parties, the United States trustee, and the court of whether the debtor is a small business debtor, and to provide procedures for resolving disputes regarding the proper characterization of the debtor. Because it is important to resolve such disputes early in the case, a time limit for objecting to the debtor's self-designation is imposed. Rule 9006(b)(1), which governs enlargement of time, is applicable to the time limits set forth in this rule.

An important factor in determining whether the debtor is a small business debtor is whether the United States trustee has appointed a committee of unsecured creditors under §1102, and whether such a committee is sufficiently active and representative. Subdivision (c), relating to the appointment and activity of a committee of unsecured creditors, is designed to be consistent with the Code's definition of “small business debtor.”

Changes Made After Publication. No changes were made after publication.

Committee Notes on Rules—2009 Amendment

The rule is amended to implement changes in connection with the amendment to Rule 9006(a) and the manner by which time is computed under the rules. The deadline in the rule is amended to substitute a deadline that is a multiple of seven days. Throughout the rules, deadlines are amended in the following manner:

• 5-day periods become 7-day periods

• 10-day periods become 14-day periods

• 15-day periods become 14-day periods

• 20-day periods become 21-day periods

• 25-day periods become 28-day periods

Committee Notes on Rules—2022 Amendment

The rule is amended in response to the enactment of the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA), Pub. L. No. 116-54, 133 Stat. 1079. That law gives a small business debtor the option of electing to be a debtor under subchapter V of chapter 11. The title and subdivision (a) of the rule are amended to include that option and to require a small business debtor to state in its voluntary petition, or in a statement filed within 14 days after the order for relief is entered in an involuntary case, whether it elects to proceed under subchapter V. The rule does not address whether the court, on a case-by-case basis, may allow a debtor to make an election to proceed under subchapter V after the times specified in subdivision (a) or, if it can, under what conditions.

Former subdivision (c) of the rule is deleted because the existence or level of activity of a creditors’ committee is no longer a criterion for small-business-debtor status. The SBRA eliminated that portion of the definition of “small business debtor” in § 101(51D) of the Code.

Former subdivision (d) is redesignated as subdivision (c), and the list of entities to be served is revised to reflect that in most small business and subchapter V cases there will not be a committee of creditors.