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How much can I earn and how much can I keep?

FAQs | Bankruptcy and Your Income

While you are bankrupt there is no limit on the amount of money you can earn.
If your after-tax income exceeds a threshold amount you will be required to pay income contributions to your bankrupt estate.
Your income threshold amount is determined by the number of dependents you have and are shown below. These amounts are regularly adjusted for the CPI.

Number of Dependants

After tax Income











5 or more


A dependent is classified as a person who predominantly lives with you and whose income does not exceed $3,763.

The amount you can earn based on the applicable threshold is calculated on an annual basis, based on your date of bankruptcy and each anniversary for the three years of your bankruptcy. If your income exceeds your threshold amount, then you will be required to pay income contributions. Your income contributions will be calculated at 50% of the amount your after-tax income exceeds your threshold. The other 50% of the amount your income exceeds your threshold amount is yours to spend or save, as you wish.

During bankruptcy, your income is protected for you and comprises:

  • your after-tax income up to your threshold amount, plus
  • 50% of the amount of your after-tax income exceeds your threshold amount.

Also, all statutory superannuation paid by your employer during bankruptcy to your regulated super fund is protected and not available to your bankrupt estate.

If you have questions pertaining to your income and bankruptcy, give us a call and we will answer your questions.

For further information on bankruptcy, we recommend our articles ‘Your Income and Bankruptcy’, ‘Pathways to Bankruptcy – Essential Facts’, ‘Life During Bankruptcy’, and ‘The Bankruptcy Option Explained’.

Nicholls & Co have a complementary ‘help desk’ to answer your questions on bankruptcy. Call Nicholls & Co on 1300 060 122 or email

Alan Nicholls - Registered Trustee

Alan Nicholls’ no obligation help desk

Nicholls & Co provide a free, no obligation ‘help desk’ for people considering bankruptcy – we discuss and explain bankruptcy and answer questions for anyone who is considering bankruptcy. The Nicholls & Co help desk can be accessed by phone  
1300 060 122  or . Alan Nicholls, Registered Trustee in Bankruptcy is also available to answer your questions to enable you to decide if bankruptcy is right for you.