Questions And Answers On Home Foreclosure And Debt Cancellation
Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualify for this relief.
This provision applies to debt forgiven in 2007, 2008 or 2009. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion doesn't apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home's value or the taxpayer's financial condition.
The amount excluded reduces the taxpayer's cost basis in the home. More information on claiming this exclusion will be available soon.
The questions and answers, below, are based on the law prior to the passage of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.
1. What is Cancellation of Debt?
If you borrow money from a commercial lender and the lender later cancels or forgives the debt, you may have to include the cancelled amount in income for tax purposes, depending on the circumstances. When you borrowed the money you were not required to include the loan proceeds in income because you had an obligation to repay the lender. When that obligation is subsequently forgiven, the amount you received as loan proceeds is reportable as income because you no longer have an obligation to repay the lender. The lender is usually required to report the amount of the canceled debt to you and the IRS on a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt.
Here's a very simplified example. You borrow $10,000 and default on the loan after paying back $2,000. If the lender is unable to collect the remaining debt from you, there is a cancellation of debt of $8,000, which generally is taxable income to you.
2. Is Cancellation of Debt income always taxable?
Not always. There are some exceptions. The most common situations when cancellation of debt income is not taxable involve:
Bankruptcy: Debts discharged through bankruptcy are not considered taxable income.
Insolvency: If you are insolvent when the debt is cancelled, some or all of the cancelled debt may not be taxable to you. You are insolvent when your total debts are more than the fair market value of your total assets. Insolvency can be fairly complex to determine and the assistance of a tax professional is recommended if you believe you qualify for this exception.
Certain farm debts: If you incurred the debt directly in operation of a farm, more than half your income from the prior three years was from farming, and the loan was owed to a person or agency regularly engaged in lending, your cancelled debt is generally not considered taxable income. The rules applicable to farmers are complex and the assistance of a tax professional is recommended if you believe you qualify for this exception.
Non-recourse loans: A non-recourse loan is a loan for which the lenders only remedy in case of default is to repossess the property being financed or used as collateral. That is, the lender cannot pursue you personally in case of default. Forgiveness of a non-recourse loan resulting from a foreclosure does not result in cancellation of debt income. However, it may result in other tax consequences, as discussed in Question 3 below.
3. I lost my home through foreclosure. Are there tax consequences?
There are two possible consequences you must consider:
Taxable cancellation of debt income.(Note: As stated above, cancellation of debt income is not taxable in the case of non-recourse loans.)
A reportable gain from the disposition of the home (because foreclosures are treated like sales for tax purposes).(Note: Often some or all of the gain from the sale of a personal residence qualifies for exclusion from income.)
4. I lost money on the foreclosure of my home. Can I claim a loss on my tax return?
No. Losses from the sale or foreclosure of personal property are not deductible.
5. Can you provide examples?
A borrower bought a home in August 2005 and lived in it until it was taken through foreclosure in September 2007. The original purchase price was $170,000, the home is worth $200,000 at foreclosure, and the mortgage debt canceled at foreclosure is $220,000. At the time of the foreclosure, the borrower is insolvent, with liabilities (mortgage, credit cards, car loans and other debts) totaling $250,000 and assets totaling $230,000.
6. I don't agree with the information on the Form 1099-C. What should I do?
Contact the lender. The lender should issue a corrected form if the information is determined to be incorrect. Retain all records related to the purchase of your home and all related debt.
7. I received a notice from the IRS on this. What should I do?
The IRS urges borrowers with questions to call the phone number shown on the notice. The IRS also urges borrowers who wind up owing additional tax and are unable to pay it in full to use the installment agreement form, normally included with the notice, to request a payment agreement with the agency.
8. Where else can I go to get tax help?
If you are having difficulty resolving a tax problem (such as one involving an IRS bill, letter or notice) through normal IRS channels, the Taxpayer Advocate Service may be able to help.
In some cases, you may qualify for free or low-cost assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). LITCs are independent organizations that represent low income taxpayers in tax disputes with the IRS. Find information on an LITCs in your area.
Debt Management The Essentials
It is sometimes necessary to approach experts for some advice on right debt management. This is why there are many non-profit management organizations found in the United States that are ready to offer you advice on debt management. These companies have good debt management programs that will help you to get out of debt.
With certain programs, efficient counselors will meet you to provide advice on how to handle your debt. You will have to give them all your financial information and they will approach your creditors to negotiate on lowered interest rates and perhaps a lowered loan amount as well. You then have to make a single payment to this debt management program through which the company will pay all your creditors.
You will be provided debt management programs where you will be advised to consolidate your numerous loans with a single large loan. This way, you will only have to make a single payment to the debt management company, as they will pay your creditors. This consolidated loan is usually of a lower interest rate, thus leading to lowered monthly installments and will consequently make some savings.
With a home equity loan, you can replace your multiple loans and make only a single payment to the bank. Whatever advice the bank gives, it will be through the counselors who visit your house to assess your financial situation.
One-on-one counseling sessions are carried over the phone, internet or in person. Certain companies are a good choice if you need advice on budget and credit counseling. There are many non-profit debt consolidation companies in America, offering effective management programs to get out of debt.
Federal student loans in the United States are consolidated differently. It's important to note that federal student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government. Existing loans are purchased and closed by a loan consolidation company or by the Department of Education (depending on the type of federal student loan the borrower holds). Student loan rates can fluctuate from the current low of 4.70% to a maximum of 8.25% for federal Stafford loans, 9% for PLUS loans.
In modern times, there have been several raised concerns about the use of consolidation loans. Many individuals worry about the temptation to consolidate unsecured debt into secured debt, usually secured against their home. The monthly payments may be lower, but the total amount repaid is often higher due to the long period of the loan.
Bad Credit Debt Consolidation Loans Unsecured Vs Secured Debt Consolidation Loans
Getting out of debt is easier said than done. Fortunately, there are many options available to people hoping to eliminate or reduce high consumer debts. Before filing for bankruptcy, which is more damaging than having excessive debt, consider other alternatives. For example, acquiring a secured or unsecured debt consolidation loan is one method to becoming debt free.
Ways to Eliminate Unnecessary Debts
There are many ways to reduce debts. Some people prefer to eliminate debt without obtaining a loan. In this case, getting second employment or seeking a higher paying job may provide you with the extra cash to pay down balances. There is no easy way to reduce debts. Furthermore, eliminating debts take time. Because of high finance fees, paying double the monthly minimum may not result in a significant reduction. However, debt consolidation loans have lower rates, which mean lower finance fees.
What are Unsecured Debt Consolidation Loans?
Unsecured debt consolidation loans are granted by banks and other financial institutions. These loans are not secured by property. Hence, they are also termed no-collateral loans. Getting approved for these types of debt consolidation loans are not easy. If you have too much debt, the majority of lenders are hesitant to extend you additional credit. On the other hand, if you have a very high credit score and earn a sizeable salary, obtaining an unsecured debt consolidation loan is feasible. Overall, individuals with a superb credit rating know how to use credit responsibly. Besides, these individuals will not risk injuring their credit rating.
The disadvantage of unsecured debt consolidation loans is the higher rates. Because, lenders are taking a gamble, be prepared to pay a high interest rate. Still, lender rates are low in comparison to typical credit card rates
What is a Secured Debt Consolidation Loan?
A secured debt consolidation involves collateral. To get approved for these types of loans, the lender will request a valuable piece of property. A vehicle title or boat title may serve as sufficient collateral. If you own a home, consider obtaining a home equity loan or line of credit for the purpose of consolidating debts. These loans do not require a high credit rating. However, applicants with good credit will receive prime rates. Avoid defaulting on secured loans. Failure to pay will result in the lender taking full possession of your property.
Find Out More About Improving Your Credit Score-Debt Does Not Have To Create So Many Problems For You
Trying to make improvements that will reflect on your credit score is a very wise decision, especially if you can do it early on enough for it to really make a big difference with your financial status. Throughout this article I want to discuss with you all some very important information regarding debt and how to get rid of it, so that hopefully you will be able to correct some of the mistakes that you have made over the years.
So many problems can be created because of ruining your debt and ofcourse your credit score, early on in your life. You do not want to have to deal with this kind of problem, really you don't. If any little change can be made that might provide you with some financial comfort or relief, then please start working on those things immediately because if you do not then your financial future might potentially have such an enormous strain on it that there really is nothing that you could possibly do to make anything any better financially.
Your credit score actually provides all of your credit history to any creditors checking into it. Anything that you decided not to pay or just simply could not pay, it will all definitely show up, reflecting very poorly on you at some point in time for whatever reasons you might be trying to get some sort of loan or establish yourself as a reliable, responsible adult who pays their bills in a timely manner and can be trusted completed when agreeing to pay some type of debt in the future.
Any sort of financial mishap or serious debt issue, can totally destroy your chances of having the ability to purchase certain things throughout life, which can really put a big damper on many different things. Your debt condition can cause so much stress that you end up with serious health issues, this is something else that you should most definitely consider right now, instead of later on in life. Debt does not have to be so terrifying because if handled properly there are many things that you can do to make simple corrections, which will relieve you from a large strain that you have accidentally gotten yourself into.
Improving your credit score can be done by many different means and you will find it to be most beneficial, after only working on it for just a short amount of time. Do not expect it to happen overnight because it does not work that way, however, it will not take as long as some of you might have first expected. Be patient and persistent, as well as consistent, when it comes to improving the way that you spend your money and save your monthly excess of cash flow coming in and it will work out for you.
Debt does not have to destroy your life but if you choose to just let things go, over a period of time, it can and will happen to you, nobody is safe from the debt monster.
Debt Counseling Presents A Systematic Method Of Clearing Debt Load
It was my wife who first introduced me to debt counseling and I thought it would be just another agony uncle whom I would have to deal with. However, it was not late that I was proved wrong. It was through debt counseling that I survived the deadly debts to recount its benefits.
Debt counseling is the advice offered through experts on several debt related issues. Debt counseling has a two-pronged strategy. While the advice focuses on ways to counter the current debt load, the borrower will also be informed of methods to prevent debts from originating. Thus, debt counseling plays defensive as well as a preventive role.
The defensive strategy will be employed for situations where the debt load is sufficiently large. In my case, the debt load was substantially large. My personal savings and monthly income would have lessened the burden a little. But, there were other expenses too that needed to be paid through the same limited income. By channeling my income towards debt settlement, I would only have paved way for newer debts.
Debt counseling showed the way out. Large number of people in the UK owe their freedom from debts to debt counseling. In fact, the very first lesson that I learnt from debt counseling is that I was not the only person who had debts. There were many others who have even messier finances. The statistics are really appalling. How come so many people, belonging to so rich a country as the UK, be so vulnerable to debts? However, people do incur debts. A desire to have almost every material comforts, often pushes people to spend rashly. On most occasions, the expenditure is without any consideration for the sources of payment.
However, as the pressure of the creditors mounts, the very first priority of debt counseling will be to design a way out for the debtors. Presently, there are a number of debt elimination options available in the UK, namely debt consolidation loans, debt consolidation mortgages, debt consolidation through remortgage, home equity loans and credit cards. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it will be really difficult to make a choice for one of these. Through debt counseling, borrowers can also get help during the product selection process.
Since I had a large debt load, the debt counselors suggested that I take up a debt consolidation loan. They did not force the product on me. This is one of the peculiarities of debt counseling. The debt counselor presents an impartial view of the various products. However, not all debt counselors adopt a similar view. Most of them will sell their products in the guise of debt advice. Borrowers need to stay clear of such advisors. As in medical sciences, second opinion is always beneficial during selection of debt settlement products. There are a large number of profit and non-profit agencies and individuals who provide genuine and professional advice. Some of these, like Independent Financial Advisors are bound by the rules laid down by the Financial Services Authority to offer genuine advice.
The preventive role of debt counseling is more of an advisory nature. The aim of this exercise will be to instill debt sense in the people; though this will prove a Herculean task, given the strange relationship of people with debts. The role may take the form of a face-to-face meeting with an individual, or a conference wherein a number of people are addressed at one time.
During these sessions, the debt counselor advises borrowers of ways to deal with debts. Debt consolidation loans and debt consolidation mortgages can at the best relieve individuals of debts for sometime. However, if the individual does not improve his spending habits, he will again have a large debt load. Through preventive debt counseling, the debt counselor aims to strike at the roots of the debt.
Some of the principal debt counseling tips include:
Debt Settlement Agencies
According to a Federal Reserve Study more than 43% of all Americans spend more than they earn. That's quite a large number of people. However this means that 1 out of every 100 families will probably file for bankruptcy in their lifetime. Debts should be taken only if you are sure that you can repay those debts. Else your interest costs will keep mounting and you would be taking more debts just to repay the old ones and falling in a classic case of debt trap.
However in this financial age, where almost anything can be bought on EMIs on monthly installments, you can also settle your debts in monthly installments. This is also one of the reasons why people purchase almost everything including furniture, baby food, and home furnishings on credit, which they find they are unable to pay. The cumulative amount gets bigger and bigger and they find themselves in a soup. However debt settlement can help you to tide over those problems. There are specialized agencies, which can reduce the tenure of the payments, the interest charges and make sure that creditors stop bothering you for the unpaid amounts.
They may however charge a fee dependent upon the amount of debt that you may have. Debt settlement agencies or negotiators are willing to help you settle all types of loans, however they are called more to settle credit card debts. America as a nation is prone more to spending on credit rather than in cash. Then the credit card balances are unpaid and this is when the trouble starts. You can even find debt settlement agencies online and get a quote from them. Be wary of fly by night operators and ask for references when dealing with debt settlement online agencies. Dependent upon various financial considerations, debt reduction can wary for people. Some people may get their debt reduced by 20%, some 50% and still others by 70%. Therefore it's important to negotiate with the debt settlement agencies before you sign them up.
How Bill Consolidation Can Help Eliminate Your Debt
In current times, many people are turning to credit cards for extra cash and even a way to pay bills on time. This is caused by the fact that the average family now faces higher costs of living than ever before. With the high costs of expenses ranging from food, utilities, rent, transportation, clothing, insurance, etc., it can be very hard to handle everything without occasionally turning to credit cards.
Although pulling out the credit card can seem very easy and harmless, it can become addicting and sometimes leads to an extreme burden if used irresponsibly. Many people end up owing large amounts to credit card companies, and this debt only increases if you can't pay it on the due dates. It will continue to pile up, and at some points you may even be unable to pay other expenses such as your phone bills due to the high payments of your credit cards. It can seem almost unbearable at times, leaving people feeling helpless to conquer their debt. Is there a solution? How will you solve your financial problems?
The answer would obviously be to simply continue to pay your bills, and eventually you'll get out. However, this can sometimes be impossible as you may not even have enough money to pay off even one of your credit card statements. The real solution is to educate yourself on the other options available, one being a service called bill consolidation.
Bill consolidation is simply the process of combining all of your bills into one single payment with lower interest rates and lower monthly payments. Instead of paying your credit card bills and other unsecured debt to multiple companies, you'll only have to make a single payment to the company providing the service.
One thing to take note of is that bill consolidation services and bill consolidation loans are very different. Bill consolidation loans usually put you longer in debt, as the repayment period is extended in order to lower your interest rates. Bill consolidation services, on the other hand, negotiate with your creditors to greatly lower your payments without using a loan at all. Many people get out of debt in a handful of years with a bill consolidation service as opposed to potentially decades on their own.
In 2006 to 2007, the Center for Media Research reported that more than half of the United States population owned more than one credit card, and MSN Money reported that 8.3% of Americans had more than $9000 of debt to their credit card companies. You aren't alone in your struggle, and there are thousands of people a day looking for help on getting out of debt.
Unsecured Debt Consolidation Loans Debt Reduction Without Using Collateral
Eliminating debt is not an easy task. For this reason, many people carry high credit card balances for several years. Homeowners may take advantage of home equity loans or refinancing to reduce debts. In addition, persons with a vehicle title or collateral may obtain a secured personal loan to payoff debts. However, there are also options for eliminating debts that do not require collateral.
What are Unsecured Debt Consolidation Loans?
In a nutshell, unsecured debt consolidation loans are personal loan that do not entail collateral. Prior to a lending institution such as a bank or credit union approving a loan request, the applicant must submit some sort of collateral. Typical collateral includes a vehicle title. Hence, if the loan is not paid, the lender may claim the applicant's property.
Because unsecured debt consolidation loans are not protected, they are harder to qualify for. Each lender has a different criterion. However, most lenders require good credit and a sizeable income.
If you are hoping to become debt free, a debt consolidation loan is the answer. Although unsecured loans carry a higher interest rate, the rate is considerably lower when compared to credit card rates. Moreover, debt consolidation loans have fixed terms.
Other Debt Consolidation Options without Collateral
Again, qualifying for an unsecured debt consolidation loan is tricky. Some lenders do not offer these types of loans. Furthermore, the lenders that do offer unsecured debt consolidation loans have strict lending requirements. Unfortunately, it's impossible to get approved for an unsecured loan with poor credit. In this case, you may have to explore other alternatives.
If a home equity loan or refinancing is not an option, you may consider transferring your high interest balances to a low rate credit card. This will lower monthly payments and make is possible to reduce debts.
Another option involves consolidating debts through a credit counseling or debt management agency. These agencies negotiate lower interest rates, and consolidate debts without collateral or credit checks.
If using such an agency, you will be placed on a payment plan. Because debts are consolidated, a single payment is submitted to the debt management agency each month. These companies are very effective, and can help you become debt free in five to ten years.
Debt Consolidation Mortgage Loan Pros And Cons
Debt consolidation mortgage loans can help you lower your interest rates and monthly payments. With reduced rates, you can also pay off your debt sooner. However, reducing your equity could subject you to private mortgage rates. You may also end up spending more on interest payments by delaying payments.
Saving With Mortgage Interest Rates
Mortgage interest rates are much lower than credit card or unsecured loan rates. Consolidating your debt with a refinanced mortgage or home equity will reduce your payments simply by having a lower rate. By paying the same monthly payments, you can pay off your debt rapidly.
Your interest is also tax deductible with a mortgage or home equity loan, where your credit card interest isn't. Student loan interest is also tax deductible and shouldn't be consolidated for a higher rate.
Reducing Your Payments
Consolidating with a loan also allows you to reduce your payments by picking longer terms. So if your income is reduced or you have other financial obligations, lengthening your payments can give you some breathing room in your budget.
Paying More In Fees And Interest
The cost of a mortgage can be more than what you are paying in interest charges if you have a small amount of debt. To refinance a mortgage, origination fees can add up to thousands. Other types of home equity loans can cost hundreds or nothing to open. You may also have to pay private mortgage insurance premiums if don't leave 20% of your equity in tack.
Delaying payments can also add up interest payments, even with a lower rate. For example, a loan amount of $10,000 will cost $11,587.10 in interest for a 30 year loan at 6%. That same amount will cost $5,896.71 for a 5 year loan at 20%, which is what most credit card payment plans are like.
Deciding To Pay Down Debt
Consolidating your high interest credit can help pay off your debt by providing structured payments. You can also lower your interest rates, making repayment easier. However, be aware of the costs and shop around for low rates and fees. To get the most out of a consolidated loan, choose short terms to avoid making large interest payments.
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