Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions

Updated December 13, 2018

Like all states, Arizona has its own set of exemptions that you can use when filing for bankruptcy. Exemption law establishes the type of property you can protect. What happens to nonexempt property that you can't protect will depend on the bankruptcy chapter you file:

If you’d like to learn more, try reading When Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Better Than Chapter 13?

Choosing State or Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

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.

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?

Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions

Here is a list of some of the more common exemptions used in Arizona. Unless otherwise noted:

  • a married couple filing together can double the exemption amount if they both own the property, and
  • all law references are to the Arizona Revised Statutes.

In addition to the following, you can also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

Arizona Homestead Exemption

33-1101 - Up to $150,000. Includes apartments and mobile homes; and sale proceeds up to 18 months after the sale, or new home purchased, whichever occurs first. Husband and wife may not double. A filer can record a homestead declaration. §33-1102.

Arizona Motor Vehicle Exemption

33-1125 - Motor vehicle up to $6,000 (or $12,000 if disabled

Other Personal Property Exemptions

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 six months.

33-1125 - 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.

Wage Exemptions

33-1131 - 75% of earned but unpaid net wages or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage. 50% of wages for support orders. The judge may allow more for low-income debtors.

Pension Exemptions

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. You’ll find the updated amounts in Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions.)

9-931 - Police officers.

9-968 - Firefighters.

15-1628 - Members of the 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.

Public Benefit Exemptions

23-783 - Unemployment compensation.

23-1068 - Workers' compensation.

46-208 - Welfare benefits.

Tools of Trade Exemptions

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)

Insurance Exemptions

20-877 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

20-1131 - Life insurance proceeds if you have owned it at least two years and the beneficiary is a spouse or child.

20-1132 - Group life insurance policy or proceeds.

33-1126 - Life insurance proceeds if the beneficiary is spouse or child, up to $20,000. Disability, accident or health benefits. Proceeds or the 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 two years.

Other Exemptions

33-1126 - Alimony or child support. Minor child's earnings if the debt is not for a child.

Confirming Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Arizona. Be aware that:

  • this article doesn’t include all Arizona exemptions
  • requirements you might need to meet aren’t included, and
  • the dollar amounts might have changed since this article was last updated.

It’s unlikely that the court will allow you to dismiss a case due to a misunderstanding about bankruptcy exemptions—especially if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s essential to protect your assets by verifying exemption availability with a local bankruptcy attorney.

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