Keeping your Michigan tax refunds in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is easy.
You can keep your Federal and State of Michigan tax refunds but only if your bankruptcy lawyer knows how to do it. One of the most common questions our clients ask around tax season is whether or not they will be allowed to keep their tax refund when they file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Thousands of people in the greater Detroit area rely on their tax refunds to catch up on past-due mortgage payments, property taxes, and other bills.
Like money in a bank account, a tax refund is an asset which must be disclosed to the bankruptcy court. In Chapter 7 cases, the Bankruptcy Court appoints a Chapter 7 Trustee to seize the debtor’s non-exempt assets. However, the vast majority of our clients get to keep their tax refunds as part of their exempt property. The Bankruptcy Code allows debtors to keep a certain amount of money they are entitled to, and this includes tax refunds. The amount of tax refund you can keep could exceed $10,000.00. Debtors who are married and file jointly could potentially double that amount.
Michigan is home to some of the most aggressive Chapter 7 Trustees in the nation, and they have figured out several clever ways of getting their hands on debtors’ tax refunds. Although the law entitles most people to keep some or all of their tax refund, that protection is not automatic. In order to keep your tax refunds in Chapter 7, your lawyer needs to file the proper documents with the court. A good bankruptcy lawyer can help you get rid of your debt AND keep your tax refund.
Fast bankruptcy and tax facts:
- The average Federal Tax Refund in Michigan in 2011 was almost $2,600.00.
- The highest personal tax refund I protected in a bankruptcy case was almost $9,000. It was the case of a single mother with three children. She got to keep all of it.
- If your lawyer doesn’t know how to protect it, the Chapter 7 Trustee may be able to take next year’s tax refund, too!
- The IRS can actually tax you for debts settled for less than the full amount! But…
- …Debt discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy CANNOT be treated as discharge of debt income, meaning you won’t have to pay taxes on it!
Chris McAvoy is a Michigan attorney who helps people with bankruptcy, family law, and estate planning. To find out more or set up an appointment, click here for contact info. Our attorneys help people in Taylor, Allen Park, Southgate, Lincoln Park, Riverview, Taylor, Trenton, Flat Rock, Wyandotte, Brownstown, Belleville, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Garden City, Canton and the Downriver, Michigan area.