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If you are served a civil summons for credit card debt, can they keep your federal income taxes when you file?

Covington, KY |

I was served and have 20 days to reply, which I plan on doing and am working on now. I want to make sure they can not take our income taxes, though. Thanks for any help, I'm in the state of Kentucky.

This is for a credit card, not bankruptcy. Thanks!

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Attorney answers 2


It depends. If "they" is the credit card company then the answer is no, they cannot take the income tax return. If "they" is the banruptcy trustee then they may keep your federal income tax return. It depends on how much of your homestead exemption you use and how much other personal property you have.

Under the federal exemptions you can exempt $15,000.00 equity of a personal home as exempt, meaning that the trustee cannot take it ($30,000 for a couple). If you do not have to use the full amount of the exemption you can use up to $7,500 to exempt the income tax return. So if you are able to exempt the full amount of the income tax return then the trustee will not be able to take it.

After reading the question again I am not sure if your question relates to bankruptcy or not. Avvo put it under the bankruptcy category so I assumed that it pertained to bankruptcy. If you are not planning on filing bankruptcy then if the credit card company obtains a judgment against you they can then garnish your bank account and or income to receive payment for their judgment. If the income tax return is in your bank account they can garnish whatever is there.

If you are planning to file bankruptcy I recommend that you retain an attorney. While a studious person can do it on their own it is best to hire a professional.


Your case is brought in a Kentucky state court. That court has no authority to direct the federal government to divert your tax refund. It does have the authority to divert your state tax refund, if there is a mechanism in place to do so.

In regards to the previous answer the $15,000, $30,000 and $7500 figures are updated for inflation every three years and now stand at about $22,000, $44,000 and $11,000.