Common Bankruptcy Questions & Myths

Part 3. If I file for Bankruptcy will I lose my tax refund?

Short Answer: It depends.

If you are filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection, then you are likely able to keep your tax refund. Your attorney will list your refund in your bankruptcy schedules and then claim an exemption to protect your refund for you. In other words, you are allowed to have certain values of assets when you file for bankruptcy. Depending on your other assets, such as money in the bank, personal property, and more, you may be entitled to keep some or all of your tax refund. The rules around exemptions can be technical and complicated. It is best to consult with an attorney to ensure that your property is protected to the fullest extent possible. There could be situations when you must pay some or all of your refund towards your debts for the success of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Usually and in most cases, you will get to keep your full tax refund when you file for bankruptcy.

If you must file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, then the answer depends on your income and your bankruptcy plan. Generally, you are required to pay the full amount of your refund into your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case when you are in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This is part of your bankruptcy plan and required to be done to ensure the success of your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. In some cases, you may be able to protect a certain value of your tax refund each year while you are in the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. You can talk to your bankruptcy attorney to determine whether you are eligible for this protection of your tax refund. If you are eligible for this protection, then your attorney will discuss the details and requirements with you, including at what point you might be required to pay some of your refund into your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Since the rules around refunds and exemptions of your property can be complicated, you should consult with an attorney before filing for bankruptcy to determine whether you will be entitled to keep your tax refund.

The information and materials provided in this article have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. If you believe you have a legal case or claim, you should contact an attorney promptly; strict time limitations may apply to your case or claim.

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