Bankruptcy is a legal process that releases you from your debts.

If you’re unable to pay your debts and you cannot come to suitable payment arrangements with your creditors, you might apply to become bankrupt.

Applying for bankruptcy can have serious long-term consequences, and it is important to get advice from a qualified financial counsellor or bankruptcy lawyer. They will explore whether you have any other options and explain the consequences of bankruptcy.

To apply for bankruptcy yourself, you must lodge a form with the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) at

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The effects of bankruptcy

Bankruptcy generally lasts for three years.

During this time, you are an “undischarged bankrupt”, and there are obligations on you and restrictions on what you can do. For example, you must notify your trustee of any change in your income or assets; you cannot travel overseas without your trustee’s written permission; and you cannot be a company director. (See for details.)

After the bankruptcy is discharged, these restrictions no longer apply. However, there are some significant lasting consequences:

  • a permanent record of your bankruptcy is listed on the National Personal Insolvency Index (an electronic public register)
  • your bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to five years, or longer in some This may affect your ability to borrow money.

What happens if I become bankrupt?

Below are the steps involved in becoming bankrupt:

Trustee appointed

When you become bankrupt, a trustee will be appointed to your case. The trustee will take control of most of your financial affairs. You can choose to appoint a registered trustee – for a list, see If you do not choose a trustee, AFSA will appoint the Official Trustee to manage your finances. Your creditors may choose to take action to change the trustee at any time.

Creditors notified

The trustee informs creditors of your bankruptcy. This means unsecured creditors should stop pursuing you for payment. Once you are bankrupt, these creditors have to deal with your trustee to have their debts repaid.

Creditors paid

To pay your creditors, the trustee will:

  • sell your assets, which may include your home (you will be able to keep some household goods and personal items)
  • take an amount from your income once you are earning over a certain amount
  • investigate your financial affairs
  • recover property or money that you have transferred to someone else for less than market value.

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
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Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

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Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
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Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in October 2018
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