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Can A Creditor Take My Tax Refund Check?

Posted by Paul Mankin | Sep 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

Has a creditor threatened to take your tax refund check or have you heard stories that they will if you do not pay the bill? Can a creditor take a tax refund check? The short answer is maybe. It depends on what you mean by ‘take my check', who the creditor is, what point in the collection process the creditor has gotten to, and if the court will allow them to take it in any given year.

What “Take My Tax Refund Check” Means

While some states may not allow certain creditors to intercept your tax refund check, preventing it from ever coming to you, all states will allow creditors who have obtained a judgment against you to ask the court for an order allowing them to levy your bank account, and then take the money from your refund from your account, or for one requiring you to sign and turn over your refund check to the creditor. So while a creditor may not be able to get your check directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it is a really a distinction without a difference.

When Can a Creditor Take My Tax Refund?

Unless and until a creditor has filed a lawsuit against you, obtained a judgment, and asked the court for permission to take your tax check or levy your bank account your tax refund check is safe. If the creditor has sued you and obtained a judgment which you have not paid in full, it may then attempt to take your tax refund by obtaining a court order allowing the check to be intercepted, requiring you to sign and turn over the check, or allowing the creditor to levy your bank account and take your refund once it is deposited. In order to do any of this, the creditor must file a motion with the court to intercept, or take, your tax check or levy your bank account. The creditor is required by court rules to provide you with a copy of anything that it files, so if it does ask the court for permission to take your tax refund, you should receive a copy of the request that it filed. Once you get notice that the creditor is trying to take your refund, you will need to file a written objection with the court in order to attempt to prevent it from ordering the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to send your check to the creditor, ordering you to turn it over to the creditor without cashing it, or allowing the creditor to levy your bank account and take the money once it is deposited.  For this, you may want to hire an attorney, as it can be difficult to stop a court from ordering that you use your tax refund to pay a judgment that has gone unpaid for very long.

If a creditor has threatened to take your tax refund or has asked the court for permission to do so, please contact our office at 1-800-219-3577, for a free, no obligation consultation.  

About the Author

Paul Mankin

Paul Mankin Attorney Location: California Phone: 800-654-9517 Fax: 323-207-3885 Email: Email Me Areas of Practice Debt Collection Defense


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