Go bankrupt before the new year
If filing for bankruptcy is on your horizon, going bankrupt before the new year protects your interest in next year’s income tax refund. When you file a bankruptcy, your trustee will receive your tax refund for the year of the bankruptcy and the year prior (more if other years are still outstanding).
If you wait until 2018 to file a bankruptcy the trustee will receive your refunds for 2018 and 2017, since it is unlikely that you would receive your 2017 refund for several months. On the other hand, if you file on December 31, 2017 you will retain the refund for 2018.