Debt Feed

You've had that student loan for what seems like forever. So naturally, you're eager to take advantage of the debt forgiveness offered by the Biden Administration. But don't act too quickly or you could be a scam victim. Soon after President Joe Biden announced his plan that will erase in some cases up to $20,000 in undergraduate student loans, consumer advocates had some suggestions of their own. Beware of perps on the prowl with promises that they can get rid of your student loan obligation more quickly. Or get you even more loan relief if the federal plan doesn't cover... Read more →


Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash Millions of people whose student loan debt will be wiped out now face another financial question. What to do with a bit more disposable income. Financial advisers suggest they pay off other debt, such as high-interest credit card balances. That's a smart move. So is the recommendation that folks put their newly available former debt payments into an emergency fund. I'd like to also toss out there the option of saving for retirement. As an added bonus, most retirement account options offer some sort of tax benefit. Here are some tax-favored retirement-saving possibilities that... Read more →


College can be fun. Paying for it, not so much, especially when you have to take out loans. Some student borrowers are getting loan relief from the White House, but also might end up owing state taxes on their forgiven student debt. (Photo by cottonbro) Around 20 million folks who borrowed money to attend college got good news last week when President Joe Biden canceled a chunk of their student loan debt. The Biden plan's major component says that individuals earning less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples or heads of households) a year will be eligible for up... Read more →


Figuring out how to pay off student loans is a math problem that goes well beyond school days. (Photo by Karolina Grabowska) The payment pause on student loans expires in six weeks. As that Aug. 31 deadline approaches, former students also are waiting for President Joe Biden to take further action to help lessen, or eliminate, their higher education debt. In addition to the political ramifications of any White House action, especially in an important midterm election year, there also are tax implications. Taxable forgiven debt: The tax code generally treats forgiven or canceled debt as taxable income. It's officially... Read more →


President Joe Biden's fiscal year 2023 budget proposal of a minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans, as well as a levy on unrealized gains on assets (including stock holdings), is getting the most attention. Biden's plan to collect at least a 20 percent tax on U.S. households worth more than $100 million would apply to about 20,000 households, but more than half the revenue would come from households worth more than $1 billion, according to White House estimates. It also would, says the administration, help reduce the nation's budget deficit by $1 trillion over the next decade. Wish list only:... Read more →


One of the big selling points of taking your taxes electronic is that the Internal Revenue Service's turnaround is quicker. The tax agency has long touted that when taxpayers e-file and have their refunds direct deposited, the tax cash usually shows up within 21 days. Usually. The only thing certain about taxes is that they'll find a way to frustrate you. That's the case when e-filed refunds take longer. Here are six reasons, from the IRS and tax community, as to why your refund may be delayed. 1. Math errors: Yes, taxes are complicated. That's why most of us use... Read more →


The U.S. Department of Education announced this week the cancelation of another $415 million in federal student loan debt. This batch of debt was owed by nearly 16,000 borrowers whose for-profit colleges violated law and educational standards. It brings to around $16 billion the total student debt that has been discharged for more than 680,000 individuals. Uncle Sam's action definitely is good news for those misled students. However, it also raises some questions in connection with another government agency, the Internal Revenue Service. Canceled debt income issues: Normally, any canceled or discharged debt amount counts as income. Officially, it's known... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has signed new contracts with three private tax debt collection agencies. (Image via Giphy) When the Internal Revenue Service four years ago reinstituted, per Congressional mandate, the latest private tax collection program, it signed four collection companies. Today, the IRS announced new deals with three collection agencies. The private collection agency (PCA) contracts take effect tomorrow, following today's expiration of the old contracts. So starting Thursday, Sept. 23, taxpayers with unpaid tax bills may be contacted by one of the following agencies: CBE Group, Inc. P.O. Box 2217 Waterloo, IA 50704 800-910-5837 Coast Professional, Inc. P.O.... Read more →


July 15 is a big day for the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayers. Millions of families will start getting Advance Child Tax Credit payments this Thursday. It's also the day the IRS resumes additional collection and enforcement actions that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had been suspended. "The majority of compliance operations are already running normally after being suspended to provide pandemic-related relief during the People First Initiative April 1, 2020, through July 15, 2020," notes the IRS on a recent update to its mission critical functions web page. However, says the agency, it kept its systemic and automated lien... Read more →


More older Americans are going into debt. For many, it seriously undermines their ability to save for a comfortable retirement. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels) It's no secret why personal finance folks urge us to save early and often. It takes a lot to live like you want when you retire. If you don't have enough stashed after you're done with the 9-to-5 grind, it could be because you are like the individuals in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study. They went into more debt as they aged. The government auditing agency's analysis found that older Americans held... Read more →


Some people got less COVID-19 relief money because the IRS took some to pay other debts. Every year, some taxpayers find the tax refunds the Internal Revenue Service sends them are less than they expected. The usual reason for the shortfall is that the federal refund amounts were offset by other debts, such as unpaid taxes, student loans or delinquent child support. That situation cropped up last year when the Recovery Rebate Credit was created as part of COVID-19 relief legislation. The rebates were paid in advance to millions of taxpayers. And in some, but not all, instances, economic impact... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has delivered two rounds of COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIPs). The first was the $1,200 per person approved in late March 2020 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The second EIP for $600 per person was authorized at the end of last December as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), with payments distributed through the first two weeks of January 2021. By now, folks know that if they didn't get the full amounts, which included additional payments for eligible dependents, they need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC). You'll do... Read more →


Forgiven debt can help ease financial burdens, but it usually comes with a tax cost. (Image: CreditRepairExpert/Flickr) The Internal Revenue Service usually is all about information. It wants it from taxpayers getting money and it wants it from those issuing payments. Not so, however, with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that are forgiven under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It doesn't want to know about any of these forgiven loans. In fact, the tax agency has officially told lenders not to mess with Form 1099-C in connection with these special COVID-19 loans. Latest pandemic tax twist:... Read more →


Are you one of those folks who's worrying about how you'll pay your tax bill on July 15? If it's an amount that you just can't come up with or cover with a credit card, look into paying off Uncle Sam over time. The Internal Revenue Service offers a couple of ways to spread out your tax bill over several months. As with most tax transactions nowadays, you can apply for a payment plan online. But depending on the way you decide (and qualify) to pay your tax bill also involves some forms. Those documents, Form 9465 and possibly one... Read more →


IRS Washington, D.C., headquarters photo by Davide Boeke via Flickr CC You've been sheltering in place. You've applied for unemployment benefits. You're alternately checking your bank account and the Internal Revenue Service's Get My Payment online search tool (good luck!) for your COVID-19 economic relief payment. And then there are your taxes. Added COVID-19 tax considerations: Like just about everything during this global pandemic, taxes also are affected. There is, of course, the new July 15 Tax Day deadline, which now applies to a wide variety of tax obligations. But the IRS also is accommodating other tax circumstances, such as... Read more →


Owning a home has long been a symbol of the American dream. For some, however, homeownership turns into a nightmare. Those horrid homeowner dreams became evident in the Great Recession. In the late 1990s through the mid-2000s, artificially high home prices, questionable lending practices and an explosion of subprime mortgages to buyers who under regular lending standards would not have been given a home loan, created a housing bubble. It finally burst in 2007, leaving many homeowners broke as the loans on their properties suddenly were many thousands more than their homes were worth. Many went into foreclosure or walked... Read more →


Yes, that could be a real IRS revenue officer knocking on your door if live in Arkansas, Texas or Wisconsin and have ignored prior notices to pay your overdue tax bill. Have you been a bit remiss in meeting your tax duties? If so and you live in Arkansas, Texas or Wisconsin, you've likely or soon could find an Internal Revenue Service agent on your doorstep. The IRS has announced that these in-person visits are part of a larger effort by the agency to, it its words, ensure fairness in the tax system. The special compliance efforts will encompass both... Read more →


The National Debt Clock is a billboard-sized running total display installed on the western side of One Bryant Park, west of Sixth Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets in Manhattan, New York City. On Oct. 31, 2019, its numbers topped $23 trillion for the first time. The national debt is the total of all the money the U.S. government has borrowed and owes to its creditors, as well as the interest on that debt. Going from the macro to micro level, it's analogous to the total you might owe on a mortgage, a car loan and credit cards. And the... Read more →


I've dealt with bill collectors over the years. Fortunately for me, it's been on behalf of a couple of relatives who found themselves in over their heads financially. Fortunately for my family members, after much — way too much — and often contentious back and forth, we were able to come to a satisfactory resolution. That's why I tend to share former Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson's skepticism about the way that private collection agencies, or PCAs in tax-acronymese, interact with folks who owe taxes. But despite my, Olson's and many others' lingering distrust of these operations, private debt collect is... Read more →


In one tax world case, it does appear that the third time really is a charm. A recent Internal Revenue Service report says that its latest use of private bill collectors to bring in old unpaid taxes is working. In fact, this latest iteration has produced enough additional money to allow the IRS to hire new in-house employees. Third time's a collection charm: The use of private collection agencies, or PCAs as they are known in tax acronymese, was restarted in 2017 after being mandated as part of a 2015 transportation law. It's the third attempt after two previous PCA... Read more →