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Another question re: tax refund

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  • Another question re: tax refund

    We'll be getting a significant tax refund (~3k), but it's mostly due to oldest child's education credit; since he initially took out student loans to pay for school we had planned to give him the money towards repaying the loan. The small portion that's actually "ours" we had planned to use for needed medical/dental stuff. Will they take that into consideration or should we just go ahead and count the whole thing as gone? We can, hopefully, save up enough post-BK to repay our son for his tax credit before his loans come due. Not claiming him isn't possible since we need him counted as the dependent he is for the means test.

  • #2
    When do you plan on filing? Can you spend the refund before filing (e.g. to pay for your attorney fees and to purchase food, household repairs, etc.)

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    • #3
      I haven't actually filed the taxes yet; I input all the info in the tax software a couple of days ago and need to look it over once more before e-filing, so probably at least a couple of weeks before money is in hand. We're planning to file BK7 sometime in April depending on when we can get an appointment with the attorney and finish up all the paperwork. Are we allowed to spend a refund or would we be penalized (as in: would it look bad to the trustee) if we spent it right before filing?

      ETA: Thanks for replying!

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      • #4
        Spending a tax refund prior to filling is not an unusual thing. Just make sure the refund is spent on things that a trustee will agree are necessary. For example, spending a refund on an IRA contribution seems shady (and might be undone), whereas spending it on groceries, household repairs, paying your attorney, etc. would seem necessary.If you file then receive a refund afterward you run the risk of the trustee asking you to turn over the refund.

        Since you'll be working with an attorney, ask him/her what common/acceptable ways to spend down your refund are.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by leonel9 View Post
          Spending a tax refund prior to filling is not an unusual thing. Just make sure the refund is spent on things that a trustee will agree are necessary. For example, spending a refund on an IRA contribution seems shady (and might be undone), whereas spending it on groceries, household repairs, paying your attorney, etc. would seem necessary.If you file then receive a refund afterward you run the risk of the trustee asking you to turn over the refund.

          Since you'll be working with an attorney, ask him/her what common/acceptable ways to spend down your refund are.
          Thanks!

          I'll ask him for sure. Just clarifying real quick - we can spend it on current necessities but not debts, right? Because that would be considered preferential payment?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by multipass View Post
            we can spend it on current necessities but not debts, right? Because that would be considered preferential payment?
            Yes. Generally you want to try to avoid making payments that exceed $600 in the 90-day period prior to filling. In the case of insiders (family, etc.) that time frame is extended to one year.

            With that in mind, I paid my regular mortgage and auto loan payments prior to filling. These payments were not clawed back. Check with your attorney regarding a specific payment you want to make that will exceed the guidelines. Alternatively, just spend the money on non-debt necessities and worry less.

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            • #7
              Do we have to get the refund spent before filing or just before the 341 meeting? We'd like to go ahead with filing, but the majority of what we need to spend the refund on is medical/dental/veterinary expenses that we couldn't get appointments for until late this month/early next month which would be less than a month after filing if we file in the next week or two (ie: most likely before 341 meeting). If I show the appointments were made prior to filing is that okay?

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              • #8
                As soon as you file everything becomes property of the Bankruptcy Estate. If your tax refunds do not have an exemption which keeps them from being used by the Trustee, then it is recommended that you file tax return and use the funds for things that won't cause issues.

                The Trustee will not care if you have "future" debt as that is not a reason to exempt the tax refund. The tax refund is either exempt or not exempt at the time of filing.
                Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
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                I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

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                • #9
                  Thank you!

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