Updated December 20, 2016
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio, you can protect some or all of your property with Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions. Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions also play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Read on to learn about what property is covered by Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions.
Exemptions are laws that allow you to protect certain property from your creditors, such as cars and homes. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can keep items that are protected by Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions affect how much you pay to creditors through your Chapter 13 plan.
Ohio, like other states, has its own exemptions that you can use when you file a bankruptcy. There is another set of bankruptcy exemptions established by federal law (called the federal bankruptcy exemptions). Some states allow you to choose between the federal or state exemptions, but Ohio does not. You must use Ohio’s exemptions if you file a bankruptcy in Ohio.
In addition to the Ohio exemptions, you may use any of the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, which protect property such as federal and military retirement benefits.
Married couples filing a joint bankruptcy in Ohio may “double” the exemption amount, meaning they can each claim the full exemption amount for any property belonging to them. However, you may only claim an exemption for property that belongs to you.
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 Nolo’s Bankruptcy Exemptions topic page.
Here are the most commonly used Ohio bankruptcy exemptions. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Ohio Revised Code.
$136,925 of value in one parcel of real or personal property (home, manufactured, or mobile home) that you or your dependent uses as a residence - 2329.66(A)(1)(a)
To learn more, see The Ohio Homestead Exemption.
$475 of cash on hand or deposit - 2329.66(A)(3)
$3,775 of value in one motor vehicle – 2329.66(A)(2) (To learn more, see The Ohio Motor Vehicle Exemption in Bankruptcy.)
$12,625 of value in household goods, such as furnishings and appliances, up to a value of $600 per individual item – 2329.66(A)(4)(a)
$1,600 of value in jewelry – 2329.66(A)(4)(b)
Interest in one burial lot – 2329.66(A)(8)
75% of wages - 2329.66(A)(13)(b)
In re Jones, 318 B.R. 841 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2005)
Private pensions - 2329.66(A)(10)(b)
Tax exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k), 403(b), and profit-sharing plans - 11 U.S.C. § 522
IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,283,025 – 2329.66(A)(10)(c)
State teacher retirement system - 3307.41
Crime victim's compensation received during 12 months before filing - 2329.66(A)(12)(a); 2743.66(D)
Disability assistance payments - 2329.66(A)(9)(f); 5115.07
Earned income tax credit and child tax credit - 2329.66(A)(9)(g)
Unemployment compensation benefits – 2329.66(A)(9)(c)
Vocational rehabilitation benefits - 2329.66(A)(9)(a); 3304.19
Workers’ compensation benefits – 2329.66(A)(9)(b)
$1,250 of value in any property – 2329.66(A)(18)
Spousal or child support, to the extent reasonably necessary for support – 2329.66(A)(10)(b)
$2,400 of value in implements, books, and tools of your trade, occupation, or business
529 savings plans - 2329.66(A((10)(e)
This list includes some of the more commonly used Ohio exemptions, but there are numerous other exemptions available to protect specific property. Additionally, Ohio updates its exemptions every three years (the next update will take place in April 2019). You can verify the current exemption amounts at the website of the Ohio Legislature or by checking the statutes yourself. (To learn how to do this, see Nolo’s Legal Research Center.)