Law Offices of W. George Senft


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Your Tax Refund in Portland, OR

          A tax refund that is due to you is the property of the estate and the Chapter 7 trustee is entitled to take the tax refund. That means that your prior year’s tax refund is part of the estate.  It does not matter whether you wait to file your taxes until after you filed for bankruptcy.

          The only way to stop the trustee from getting your tax refund is claiming the correct exemption.  In Oregon, a Chapter 7 debtor can use either the Oregon State Exemptions or the Federal Exemptions.

          Today, the Oregon State Exemptions are rarely used.  Within the Oregon exemption law system, you can keep the Earned Income Credit of your tax refund and possibly another $400 per debtor.

          The Federal Exemption laws can be more generous.  One of the most important federal exemptions is the “wild card”.  The amount of the wild card is $1,225 per debtor plus any unused amount of the homestead exemption up to $11,500 per debtor.  Current as of May 07, 2014.

          However, if you have not continuously resided in Oregon for the 730 days prior to the filing of your bankruptcy you may have to use another state’s exemption laws.  You should consult an attorney to determine what exemptions laws are applicable and are more advantageous to your case.