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Bankruptcy and Tax Refunds: 5 Things to Know
Tax refunds can be thousands of dollars that most people rely on to receive each year, and if you want to keep your refund from a bankruptcy trustee, you should read this post. My clients use this money to pay bills or unpaid utilities; obtaining a mortgage or rent; Maybe a down payment on a car; Or even home repairs or children’s clothing. If you want to keep your tax refund, here are some things you need to know.
1. Federal tax refunds cannot be garnished from the IRS. Once you receive them they can be debited from your bank account. If you want to keep your federal tax refund from a garnishing judgment creditor, avoid direct deposit and get a check mailed to you. Cash in. spend Store in a mason jar under the chicken coop. Don’t keep a bank account that you think a creditor is going to garnish.
2. State refunds in Michigan may be garnished by the debtor in judgments of the Department of the Treasury. There is no need to wait for the judgment creditor to reach your bank account. The only thing you can do to stop this type of garnishment is to file for bankruptcy protection. If you file after garnishing it and sending it to the judgment creditor, you can recover it as a priority payment.
3. Disclose, disclose, disclose all assets. A tax refund or credit is an asset, even if you haven’t received it yet. You must disclose what you think or expect to receive in Schedule B and exempt the refund on Schedule C. Failure to list the tax return in the estate may result in your tax return being lost to the trustee. A trustee’s job is to seize non-exempt assets for the benefit of creditors.
4. If you are in Chapter 13, you may be able to keep some or all of your federal tax refund. You must turn over your federal tax refund to the Chapter 13 trustee for distribution to your creditors. Your bankruptcy judge may allow you to keep it if you can show you need it. Perhaps you need a new washing machine for essential home repairs, car repairs, or if your old washing machine breaks down.
5. Prepare your tax return. It sounds really basic but it’s true. All of your tax returns for bankruptcy must be filed through a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. Failure to do so may result in your case being dismissed. Also, if you don’t know what you’re getting back, you won’t be able to protect it. Your Chapter 7 trustee may keep your case open until the tax return is complete so he can see how much money he can seize.
If you and your attorney know these basic rules, you’ll be ahead of the curve on filing your tax return and credits. To learn more about bankruptcy, please take a moment to visit my website: Downriver Bankruptcy.
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