Income Tax Refunds and Utah Bankruptcy

Some people come to see their income tax refunds as a yearly bonus. In reality these refunds are usually caused by a taxpayer having paid too much in taxes during the past year. Sometimes people have even come to rely upon these refunds for planned yearly spending to catch up on bills, go on vacation, buy necessities, etc. Because of this reliance upon income tax refunds, those looking at filing for bankruptcy are often dismayed to find that the bankruptcy court may seize part or all of their refunds. How might this be avoided?

The first thing someone looking to file bankruptcy must understand is the idea of the “bankruptcy estate.” Every asset they have, or have the right to receive, at the time they file their bankruptcy is filed is considered a part of the bankruptcy estate. Every asset, to the extent not considered exempt, is subject to being taken by the bankruptcy trustee to distribute to the debtor’s creditors. Avoiding this taking of assets is one of the goals the person looking to file for bankruptcy, and should be the goal for an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

The best way to avoid loss of the refund is to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. At the Law Office of Douglas Barrett, LLC we can help you determine when to file your tax return and when to file for bankruptcy protection. There are a many, many, many possible pitfalls for the unsuspecting bankruptcy filer in Utah. Visit us at for more information


To be eligible to be a Chapter 13 debtor, individuals must meet, among other things, the following two requirements: (i) they must have a regular income, and (ii) their debts must not exceed a certain amount. If the individual’s current monthly income is less than the applicable state median income, the plan will generally be set up for three years, although the court may approve a longer plan. If the debtor’s current monthly income is greater than the applicable state median, the plan is generally for five years.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is a way for individuals to undergo a financial reorganization supervised by a federal Bankruptcy Court. The Bankruptcy Code anticipates the goal of a Chapter 13 case as enabling income-receiving debtors debt rehabilitation provided they fulfill a court-approved plan. Compare the goal of Chapter 13 with the relief contemplated in Chapter 7 that offers immediate, complete relief of many oppressive debt(s).

Under Chapter 13, the debtor proposes a plan to pay his creditors over a 3 to 5 year period. During this period, his creditors cannot attempt to collect on the individual’s previously incurred debt except through the bankruptcy court. In general, the individual gets to keep his property, and his creditors end up with less money than they are owed.

For more information on Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Utah check out:

Use Your Tax Refund Wisely!

It’s that time a year again when people start receiving their tax refunds. It’s also that time of year where debt collectors start harassing people who are having a hard time paying their bills.
Don’t waste your tax refund if you’re struggling with debt. If your tax refund is not enough to pay off your debt this year, then you need to find another solution.
Unfortunately, some people will take their tax refund and pay off one or two debts.
However, they still have more debts and the tax refund only provided a partial solution. Instead of wasting your tax refund, you should consider filing bankruptcy.
You can use your tax refund to pay for a Utah bankruptcy attorney who will solve your entire debt problem, instead of one or two debts. Most people’s tax refund is enough to pay the entire fees for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy as well as a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Make it a great new year by using your tax refund wisely to resolve your debt problem once and for all. Visit us HERE to learn more.


If you’ve filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and received a discharge and are still struggling with debt, you may be able to file again under Chapter 13. The catch, however, is that you will probably have to wait a few years before re-filing.

In theory, individuals can file for bankruptcy as many times as they want, but there are some time limits and debt limits that apply to anyone trying to file again.

For complete answers on filing Chapter 13 after Chapter 7, speak with a Utah bankruptcy lawyer at 801-221-9911 or at

Can I change from a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or vice versa at a later date?

Yes, It can be done after you’ve filed for either chapter, also note that the trustee can also request a conversion.
For instance, if your chapter 13 fails, either you or the creditor, may request a conversion to chapter 7. Likewise if the trustee thinks money might be available for unsecured creditors they may make a motion to convert your chapter 7 to a chapter 13. More information on Utah Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can be found HERE.

What is a Chapter 13 Hardship Discharge?

If after confirmation of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan, circumstances arise that prevent the debtor from completing the plan the debtor may be able to obtain a hardship discharge. In such situations, the debtor may ask the court to grant a “hardship discharge.” 11 U.S.C. § 1328(b). Generally, such a discharge is available only if: (1) the debtor’s failure to complete plan payments is due to circumstances beyond the debtor’s control and through no fault of the debtor; (2) creditors have received at least as much as they would have received in a chapter 7 liquidation case; and (3) modification of the plan is not possible. Injury or illness that precludes employment sufficient to fund even a modified plan may serve as the basis for a hardship discharge. The hardship discharge is more limited than the discharge described above and does not apply to any debts that are nondischargeable in a chapter 7 case. 11 U.S.C. § 523.

More information on Utah Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be found HERE.