Hiding assets likely to backfire

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Dear 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

Dear 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.

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