There is nothing special that protects a tax refund from being seized by a creditor in most states. Usually, only government creditors such as child support enforcement authorities,student loans, the SBA, military loans, etc have access to take your tax refund directly from the tax authorities. Once the check is deposited into your bank account, any creditor with a court judgment can seize the funds.

Private creditors (credit card companies, hospitals, etc) are not legally permitted to garnish your tax refund. Once your tax refund hits your bank account, however, the money is fair game for a bank account levy.