No, you will not have to surrender you tax refund every year for the rest of your life!! But depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you file, there is a possibility that you may have to turn over a portion of your current refund. Let me explain:
In a St. Louis Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a tax refund becomes an issue if it is large. By large, I mean anything over $2,000. Some people anticipate a refund of four, five, or six thousand per year. If this is the situation, then it depends greatly upon when you actually file your bankruptcy petition. For instance, if you were to file a Missouri Chapter 7 in December, and you anticipated a tax refund of $5,000, then it is going to be very likely that the Trustee will demand that you turnover to him most of that refund (the Trustee will then disperse those funds to the unsecured creditors that are due to be discharged in your case).
But if it is March when you file your St. Louis Chapter 7, and you have already spent the tax refund (on necessities, like household expenses, bills, and/or car repairs), then there will be nothing that the Trustee can take from you. So as you can see, it depends greatly on when you file your Chapter 7. Sometimes a tax refund can be an issue, and other times its no issue at all. It is all in the timing of when you file your case.