Updated May 24, 2016
Like all states, Arizona has its own set of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you may keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions – but Arizona is not one of them. In Arizona, you must use the state exemptions below. In addition to this list, you may also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Arizona, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is informally called “doubling.”
To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, including how they work, which state exemption system you should use, and special rules for the homestead exemption, see Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Arizona Revised Statutes.
33-1101 - Up to $150,000. Includes apartments and mobile homes; and sale proceeds up to 18 months after sale, or new home purchased, whichever occurs first. Husband and wife may not double. May record homestead declaration. §33-1102.
12-592 - Wrongful death awards.
32-1391.05 - Funeral deposits up to $5,000.
33-1123 - Household furniture and appliances not covered by other exemptions, up to 6,000 total.
33-1124 - Food and fuel for 6 months.
33-1125 - Motor vehicle up to $6,000 (or $12,000 if disabled); clothing to $500; pets, horses, milk cows and poultry to $800; books to $250; wedding and engagement rings to $2,000; musical instruments to $400; watch to $150; health aids; and up to $1,000 total for bicycle, sewing machine, typewriter, computer,burial plot, firearm, and bible.
33-1126 - Proceeds for sold or damaged exempt property; prepaid rent or security deposit to lesser of $2,000 or 1.5 times rent (only if not claiming homestead); bank deposit to $300 in one account.
33-1131 - 75% of earned but unpaid net wages or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage. 50% of wages for support orders. Judge may allow more for low-income debtors.
11 U.S.C. § 522 - Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans).
11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n) - IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,283,025. (This amount is set by federal law. See Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions for updates on this dollar amount.)
9-931 - Police officers.
9-968 - Firefighters.
15-1628 - Members of board of regents as well as administrative officers and faculty under the board's jurisdiction.
33-1126 - ERISA-qualified benefits, if deposited more than 120 days before filing. IRAs & Roth IRAs.
38-762 - Retirement and disability of state employees.
41-955 - Rangers.
48-227 - District employees.
38-850(c) - Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.
23-783 - Unemployment compensation.
23-1068 - Workers' compensation.
46-208 - Welfare benefits.
Tools of Trade
33-1127 - Teaching aids of a teacher.
33-1130 - Tools, equipment and books up to $5,000; Farm machinery, utensils, instruments of husbandry, feed, seed, grain and animals up to a total value of $2,500; and arms, uniforms and equipment you are required by law to keep. (Subject to doubling)
20-877 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
20-1131 - Life insurance proceeds if you have owned it at least 2 years and the beneficiary is a spouse or child.
20-1132 - Group life insurance policy or proceeds.
33-1126 - Life insurance proceeds if beneficiary is spouse or child, up to $20,000. Disability, accident or health benefits. Proceeds or cash value of life insurance or annuity contract if the beneficiary is a dependent member of the family and the contract has been owned longer than 2 years.
33-1126 - Alimony or child support. Minor child's earnings if debt is not for child.
Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Arizona. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. In addition, Arizona may have changed the amounts since this article was last updated. Check with your local bankruptcy court or with a local attorney.