Should I file my tax return before or after I file for bankruptcy? 27 Answers as of January 23, 2014

Need to move out of state to live with family as soon as possible. Need to file bankruptcy right away.

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Law Office of Susan G. Taylor
Law Office of Susan G. Taylor | Susan G. Taylor
It might not matter, depending on which exemption scheme you can file under & whether you expect a refund.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/23/2014
The Law Offices of Katie M. Stone
The Law Offices of Katie M. Stone | Katie M. Stone
Do you usually receive a refund? If you file bankruptcy before you file your taxes and receive a refund, you will most likely have to turn over the refund to the bankruptcy trustee/estate. If you do not receive a refund, then you can file now and it should not matter. You will probably have to give them a copy of your return when you do file. I hope you found this answer useful.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 1/23/2014
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Generally before, but to some extent it depends on whether you are getting a refund or owe taxes.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/23/2014
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
You need to receive your tax refund before you file BK, or the Chapter 7 Trustee will take the refund. The Trustee can not touch any of the Earned Income Credit portion or your tax refund, and depending on what State you live in, normally can not touch any of the Child Tax Credit portion of the refund. I am a "belt & suspenders" kind of lawyer, so I would wait until you receive the refund and then file your BK. If the refund is large, get a list of "exempt" property from your attorney so you can spend your money on those items, as well as normal living expenses.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 1/23/2014
Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP
Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP | Alan E. Ramos
Whenever possible it is best to file your tax return prior to filing.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/22/2014
    Stuart P Gelberg
    Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
    File the return first.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Lynch Law Offices, P.C. | Roseanne N. Lynch
    I don't think that it matters. You must have all taxes for all years filed at the time you file for Bankruptcy but you are given until April 15th to do so. You should speak to a lawyer about the Bankruptcy just in case there may be a reason to wait on filing either your taxes or the Bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    It doesn't matter as to the act of filing the return. Where it could matter is if a refund is significant, you may want to file the taxes, receive your refund and spend it, before filing bankruptcy so you won't lose it in the bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
    If you must file your bankruptcy right now, then it does not matter when you file your taxes. The refund will be considered part of the bankruptcy either way. The only way to exclude your refund is to actually collect it and spend it down CORRECTLY with your attorney's advice, BEFORE you file. You can use your refund to pay attorney fees, among other things. Some or all of your refund may be exempt, anyway. You will have to ask your attorney to explain how the exemptions apply to your particular situation. Each case is different. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C.
    Kenneth A. Parker, P.C. | Ken Parker
    It depends on how much your return is likely to be and if the return would be considered exempt.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Garner Law Office
    Garner Law Office | Daniel Garner
    It is not necessary to file a tax return before it's due just because you're filing bankruptcy, but any refunds for which you qualify would be considered an asset. The bankruptcy exemptions you can use will be those of your current home state if you have lived in the same state for the past 2 years. If you can exempt your anticipated tax refunds, then it is OK to file bankruptcy first. But if you cannot exempt the tax refunds on your bankruptcy, then it would be wise to file your taxes first, get your refund, and then file bankruptcy afterwards.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
    It depends on whether you expect a refund or not. If you file bankruptcy before you file your taxes, the trustee will take your refund. If you file taxes, get your refund and spend it and then file bankruptcy there will be nothing for the trustee to take. However, you should consult with an attorney about the best strategy in your case and what to spend the money on. If you don't expect a refund, it doesn't make any difference whether you file taxes first and then bankruptcy or vice versa.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    If your tax refund is exempt then it does not matter if you file bankruptcy before or after your tax returns.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Barr, Jones & Associates LLP
    Barr, Jones & Associates LLP | Andrew Brasse
    It is generally better to file taxes and get your refund before you file the bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    It makes no difference when you file your tax return, if you file chapter 7.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    You can file and then move. You will just need to come back for one hearing.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    There is no easy answer to this question. Depending on the size of the refund and the source of the refund, for example, if the refund is due to earned income credit or is relatively modest, say under $1,200, it may be possible to file bankruptcy right away & still keep the entire refund. You would need to review all the exemptions available to you to help you figure out the answer.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    it depends on what exemptions are available to you. without knowing the numbers, I can't answer this. But even if you wait to file if the refund is significant the trustee could hold the case open until you file the return. In any event you have to disclose what you think the expected refund is.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Law Offices of Linda Rose Fessler | Linda Fessler
    File tax return after if at all possible. Get the BK files before April 15, then get an extension to file until October 15. The trustee may still take your return, but it will not be as likely.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    If you are getting a refund you will want to file your return and collect it prior to filing bk. The trustee will seize it otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    Are you receiving a refund? If so, the amount MIGHT make a difference as to when you file. Might not, but that's going to be the issue if there is one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Meister & McCracken Law Firm, PLLC | Joanne M. McCracken
    Whether to file before or after receiving a tax refund depends on your individual situation. Arkansas has generous exemptions available to most debtors but your question can best be answered by a qualified bankruptcy attorney because there are many factors that affect the timing of filing.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    File before you move or you will have to wait 180 days.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A.
    Cohen & Kendziorra, P.A. | Robert S. Cohen
    If you are expecting a tax refund, then I would file my 2013 income tax return before you file bankruptcy and when you receive the refund then spend it on everyday living expenses or on attorney fees if you want to use an attorney to file bankruptcy, otherwise if you file your returns after you file bankruptcy, some if not all your refund may have to be turned over to the bankruptcy trustee. If you will not receive a refund, then you can file now but you will be expected to file the return during the pendency of the bankruptcy case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Elkington Law
    Elkington Law | Sally Elkington
    If, you won't owe any money on the taxes that you were about to file, then it doesn't matter when you file it. You could file it before you file bankruptcy or after the bankruptcy. As long as you file within the period of time you're supposed to. If you are going to get a refund, make sure in the bankruptcy that you protect the refund with an exemption. If you were going to owe money after you file your taxes, then it of depends on whether you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If you file a Chapter 7, it should not make any difference. If you file a Chapter 13, then it might make a difference, and you should go see a qualified bankruptcy attorney with your completed, but not filed tax return.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Moore Taylor & Thomas PA
    Moore Taylor & Thomas PA | Jane Downey
    File it before if you can.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Hoang & Tran PLLC | Adam Tran
    Individual tax returns are generally due by the 15th of April or you can get an extension to October. You should assess your situation based on the IRS deadlines. Bankruptcy can be done any time, but a refund from the IRS may or may not be exempt depending on your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/20/2014
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