Hiding assets likely to backfire

Don Taylorq_v2.gifDear Dr. Don,
Can anyone such as a lawyer, creditor, bankruptcy court or the Internal Revenue Service find out where I bank without me telling them? If so, how do they do this?
-- Anita Abate

a_v2.gifDear Anita,
Trying to hide your financial assets from lawyers, creditors, the courts and the IRS just isn't going to happen when you keep your money in a bank account. Besides, bankruptcy courts take a dim view of a petitioner trying to hide assets from the court.

The IRS gets annual statements (1099-INT) from your bank for any interest earnings. If you paid taxes with a personal check, they'll have that information, too.

If you've had any issues with your banking relationships, those accounts could be listed on your ChexSystems consumer banking report. Access to your consumer banking report is limited by law under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but creditors would have access to these reports.

As Bankrate's bankruptcy expert, Justin Harelik, says, "Hiding assets tends to expose them."

You haven't explained your problem, other than trying to hide assets from others. But if you're facing bankruptcy, working with a bankruptcy attorney makes more sense than trying to go it alone.

Bankrate's content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this Web site, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation.  Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this Web site is governed by Bankrate's Terms of Use.

To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the "Ask the Experts" page, and select one of these topics: "Financing a home," "Saving & Investing" or "Money." Read more Dr. Don columns for additional personal finance advice.

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