For most debtors filing under chapter 7, 11, 12, or 13 you are able to keep your tax return without surrendering it over to the case trustee or the estate.
In bankruptcy you are able to exempt certain asset from your creditors and the bankruptcy estate. Although there is no specific exemption for tax returns, the federal exemptions allow for a “wild card” exemption for up to $11,200 per person or $22,400 for married debtors filing jointly.
Because of the large value of the wild card exemption it is rare that a debtor will lose their tax return in bankruptcy.
Also, individuals filing under chapter 11, 12, or 13 will simply factor their anticipated tax return into their monthly budget as to not lose their tax return over the course of the bankruptcy plan.