It is important for accountants to have a working understanding of bankruptcy law during these trying economic times. Starting in the late 1990s, massive numbers of individuals ran up huge debts and then filed for bankruptcy to discharge those debts. Congress responded to intense lobbying by passing the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. To understand bankruptcy law, it is important to distinguish between three main bankruptcy chapters: 7, 11, and 13. It is also crucial to understand the impact of the reform legislation passed in 2005. The number of individual debtors filing for bankruptcy first reached the 1 million mark in 1996. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 initially reduced the number of individual bankruptcy filings, but that reduction appears to be temporary. Understanding the new bankruptcy laws will allow accountants to follow the developments in an intelligent manner and to better advise clients of the impact of the various bankruptcy chapters.