What do my actual tax returns look like?

Updated: Apr 8

This post is meant to be a supplement to "What information do you need to prepare a bankruptcy case?"


Here we will look at what tax returns are required to be provided to the Court for your bankruptcy filing. Usually the Court will require that ALL of your tax returns that were due to be filed be filed prior to your bankruptcy case. If you can't find copies, click here for how to order tax transcripts.


At filing, you will need to provide to your attorney the most recent TWO tax returns. If your case is being filed during tax season (January - May), you will also need to provide a copy of the newest tax return for the prior tax year. Note that if you are filing your tax return during or close to filing your case, talk to your attorney before spending ANY of your tax refunds! This could impact your case.


When providing tax returns, this can be confusing, because if you use a commercial tax preparer, like Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block, they will almost always hand you a packet when you finish, however, these packets may not actually contain any of your actual tax returns! These packets will almost always be full of the agreements and contracts you've made with the tax preparer to prepare your taxes.


So what do your actual tax returns look like? Let's look at your Federal tax returns first, most people will have filed a "1040". The tax return will say "1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return" and then the tax year. See the image below for the 2021 tax form. You will need at least this first page and the second signature page for your bankruptcy. Scroll down for your Michigan tax return information.

You are also required to provide your Michigan Income Tax Return when filing a bankruptcy case. Again, this form is usually a "MI-1040". It will appear as the image below and say "Michigan Individual Income Tax Return" at the top. You will need the first page and the second signature page.

Note that if you own a business or have more complicated tax returns, these requirements may be different. Ask your attorney if you have questions.


Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr handles bankruptcy cases in the Western District of Michigan, call today for a consultation.269-381-4471