It depends on whether you are filing Chapter 7
or Chapter 13
, and even then there are differences depending on which jurisdiction you are in, and sometimes even which trustee you get within a division.
In Chapter 7, the court generally just takes one year's tax refund checks, unless you have multiple years of tax returns that are unfiled, in which case the court makes you file all the un-filed tax returns and then the court can take all of the tax refunds from those years too.
But normally, the court just takes one year of tax refunds. So, if you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012, the court will usually only take all or a portion of your 2013 tax refunds. The court will ignore 2014 tax refunds and all refunds thereafter, so you do not lose those.
In Chapter 13, the court can take a portion of all tax refunds you receive during the 3 to 5 year life of your Chapter 13 Plan. Some courts take all, some take half, and some take none, depending on the trustee and judge in your jurisdiction.
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