Idaho Bankruptcy Exemptions

Learn about the property you can protect in bankruptcy using Idaho's exemption laws.

Updated January 24, 2019

You don’t have to worry about losing everything when filing for bankruptcy in Idaho. Idaho’s bankruptcy exemptions allow a debtor to protect property, such as a home, car, and retirement account. It’s possible that you’ll be able to keep all of your assets, but that isn’t always true.

Here’s what will happen to nonexempt property:

  • In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to administer your case will sell nonexempt property and distribute the proceeds to creditors. Find out more about the bankruptcy process and the Chapter 7 documents you'll need at each stage.
  • In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it works differently. You can keep everything you own, but you’ll pay creditors the value of the nonexempt property, your disposable income, or your nondischargeable debt (support obligations, most taxes, and the like), whichever is more, through your Chapter 13 repayment plan.

You’ll learn more about Chapter 7 and 13 in Which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?

Idaho Exemptions v. Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

Idaho, like every state, has a set of state bankruptcy exemptions. Federal bankruptcy exemptions exist too. Some states allow residents to choose between the state and federal exemption schemes, but Idaho isn’t one of them. You can supplement Idaho’s exemptions with the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, however.

To learn more about how bankruptcy exemptions work, which state exemption system you should use, and the homestead exemption rules, read Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?

Common Idaho Bankruptcy Exemptions

Here are a few things to keep in mind when reviewing Idaho exemptions:

  • Joint filing. Unless otherwise noted, when spouses file together in Idaho, each spouse can claim the full amount of the exemption (informally called “doubling”) as long as each spouse has an ownership interest in the property.
  • List and verify your exemptions. You must claim an exemption by listing it in the official bankruptcy forms. You might qualify for exemptions not included in this article, or be required to meet qualification requirements. Consulting with a local bankruptcy attorney is the best way to ensure you’re protecting your assets.
  • Legal citations. Legal references are to the Idaho Code or federal law.

Idaho Homestead Exemption

55-1003 and 55-1004 - Real property or mobile home up to $100,000. Sale proceeds are exempt for six months. If the property isn’t yet occupied, the debtor must file a homestead declaration.

Idaho Motor Vehicle Exemption

11-605 - Motor vehicle up to $7,000.

Idaho Wildcard Exemption

11-605 - Any tangible personal property of your choice up to $800.

Other Idaho Exemptions

Here are additional exemptions you can claim to protect property.

Personal Property

11-603 - Health aids; burial plot.

11-604 - Personal injury and wrongful death recoveries needed for support. College savings program account.

11-605 - Jewelry up to $1,000; clothing, pets; one firearm to $750, appliances, furnishings, books, musical instruments, family portraits, and sentimental heirlooms up to $750 per item and $7,500 total; crops cultivated by the debtor on up to 50 acres (including water rights up to 160 inches); provisions for one year.

11-606 - Proceeds for damaged exempt property, for up to three months after received.

45-514 - Building materials.

Wages

11-605 – Up to $1,500 in a calendar year.

Pensions

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 maximum (amount changes periodically).

11-604 - Retirement plans, government, and private pensions, IRAs, Roth IRAs, Keoghs, etc.

50-1517 - Police officers.

55-1011 - ERISA-qualified benefits.

59-1317 - Public employees.

72-1417 - Firefighters.

Public Benefits

11-603 - Unemployment compensation, Social Security, veterans' benefits, and federal, state, and local public assistance, including earned income tax credit (but not a child tax credit). (In re Jones, 107 B.R. 751 (Bankr.D Idaho 1989; In re Steinmetz, 261 B.R. 32 (Bankr.D Idaho 2001); In re Crampton, 249 B.R. 215 (Bankr.D Idaho 2000).)

56-223 - General assistance, and aid to blind, aged, and disabled.

72-802 - Workers' compensation.

Tools of Trade

11-605 - Tools, books and implements of trade up to $2,500; arms, uniforms, and accouterments required to be kept by a peace officer, National Guard or military personnel.

Alimony and Child Support

11-604 - Alimony and child support needed for support.

Insurance

11-603 - Medical or hospital care benefits and an amount in a medical savings account.

11-604 - Life insurance proceeds for beneficiaries other than the insured.

11-605 - Unmatured life insurance contract, other than credit life insurance contract; unmatured life insurance contract under which the insured is the debtor or the debtor's dependent, up to $5,000.

41-1834 - Death and disability benefits.

41-1833 - Life insurance proceeds, dividends, interest, loan, cash or surrender value if the insured is not the beneficiary.

41-1835 - Group life insurance benefits.

41-1836 - Annuity contract proceeds up to $1,250 per month; if not yet receiving payments from the annuity, then "cash surrender" value to the amount of premiums paid during six months before bankruptcy petition.

41-1930 - Life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.

41-3218 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.

55-1008 - Up to the amount of the homestead exemption, homeowner's insurance proceeds.

Other

23-514 - Liquor licenses.

Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions.

Confirming Exemptions

This list includes many, but not all bankruptcy exemptions available in Idaho. Also, they may have changed since this list was updated and you might need to meet unlisted requirements.

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