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Top Tips For Managing Your Debts

Having financial problems? Follow our simple tips to manage your debt now.

Recently the credit crunch has never been out of the news, and rising domestic bills are putting more and more pressure on household finances. It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are a number of way in which you can take control of your debts and effectively manage your money in the future:

1.        Control Your Credit Cards – If you owe a lot of money on one or more credit cards then it’s a good idea to tryand reduce the amount of interest you’re paying each month. You can do this by looking for a card with a 0% balance transfer rate. If you choose to go down this route it’s vital that you cut up and cancel your old cards as soon as possible in order to remove the temptation to start spending on them again, which will only lead to a vicious circle of debt.

2.        Don’t Keep Borrowing – With consumer credit so readily available it can be tempting to borrow a little bit extra from another source to help pay off your existing debts. This is one of the worst things you can do and while it may work as a quick fix, it invariably leads to long term financial headaches and problems trying to keep up with the interest and loan repayments.

3.        Take Responsibility –   Burying your head in the sand and hoping your debt problems will disappear on their own will only make matters worse. Open every piece of mail you receive and if you are not able to pay that particular bill then call the company directly or ask Debt1.co.uk to do it for you to explain your situation to them rather than waiting for them to start chasing you. With over 14 million UK households relying on their overdrafts to get by each month, you’re not alone and your creditors will usually try to deal with your situation sympathetically.

4.        Review Your Monthly Outgoings – Regardless of your current level of debt, it pays to have a thorough review of your personal finances every so often to keep track of what’s coming in and out and establish where you can make savings. Shopping around every time you buy a product or service can save you a considerable sum of money over the course of a year and often you can find things cheaper online than in the shops.

5.        Seek Professional Advice – Living with spiralling debt can be extremely stressful and it may often seem like there’s no way out. There are a number of options specifically designed to help people become debt free such as debt consolidation, debt management plans and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA’s).

Here at Debt1.co.uk our expert advisors can talk you through all of your available options to find out which one is best suited to your own circumstances.

Give us a call now on 0800 043 4747 to find out if we can help you take control of your debts. Chris Pracy is Marketing Manager for Accuma Group Plc. Chris manages a number of debt management and debt advice related websites including www.debtsolver.co.uk and www.debt1.co.uk

Steve Lawton is IT Support Manager for Accuma Group Plc. Steve manages a number of debt management and debt advice related websites including www.debtsolver.co.uk , www.simpleiva.com and www.debt1.co.uk
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Options to Become Debt Free

Regardless of how you got into debt, there are options to get debt free. Which option is best for you will depend on your situation.

The first option is simply to work to pay off your debts on your own. It’s not enough simply to pay the minimum amounts due on each card. Create a budget to determine how much you can afford to put towards paying off your debt. By increasing the amounts you pay each month, you are greatly decreasing the amount of time that it will take you to pay off your debt. It is a good idea to start with the debt with the highest interest and concentrating on getting that paid off, then moving on to the credit card with the next highest interest, etc. This is a good option for those with only a low to moderate amount of debt or who have the willpower to stick to a strict budget.

Another option that people choose for getting debt free is a loan. This could be a debt consolidation or home equity loan. Debt consolidation loans are specifically designed to pay off debt, and generally carry a larger interest rate than normal car or home loans. They also are not available to everyone. A homeowner can generally get a good rate with a home equity loan, but it is not usually a good idea to use it to pay off debt. With a home equity loan you are securing the debt with your home and could be at risk of losing it if you do not pay off your debt.

A third major option is a debt management plan. This type of plan is beneficial for a wider range of people as it can be made to fit your needs. With this plan, you will pay one monthly payment to the debt management company who will then distribute that money to your various creditors. They can usually work with your creditors to lower your interest rates and cancel many fees on your accounts. This will allow you to put more money to actually paying off your debts. In many cases, you can become debt free in three to five years with a debt management plan.

Another option that carries little benefits is debt settlement. Debt settlement companies often promise more than they deliver, so be careful. They will attempt to work with your creditors to allow you to pay only a portion of your debt. After you add on the extensive debt settlement fees and the taxes you have to pay on forgiven debt, you often don’t pay any less than you could have if you had just paid your debts in the first place. Also, there is no promise that they will be able to work out a beneficial deal with your creditors anyway.

A final option is bankruptcy. This is an extreme solution and should only be used when others have failed. While bankruptcy can allow for people to have a fresh start, it also ruins your credit for years to come. Make sure that it is absolutely necessary before you take this step.

Whichever option you take to get free of your debt, make sure that it is the best option for you. A great way to determine which might be best is to talk to an accredited credit counselor who can analyze your situation and give you a proper assessment.

Ronnica Rothe is a graduate with honors from the University of Oklahoma and a current student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She works with lowcardinterest.com to help individuals get out of debt and reach their financial goals.
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Ridding yourself of Bad Debt Without Bankruptcy

Credit card debt creates anxiety and financial chaos. It caused many people trap into serious financial issue since the introduction of credit card. This plastic card create easy and convenient payment scheme for you to buy things without the need to worry about cash inside you wallet; frequently make you over spend your money and create debt.

The situation getting worse with the best feature of credit card, the minimum monthly payment; you no need to pay in full of credit card balance each month, just pay the minimum amount will do; the credit card balance snowballing month by month, when you start to realize that you have financial issue, most probably you already at a bad debt situation. When you are in the debt trap, more efforts and times are needed to get out from there.

The last option for debt free is filing a bankruptcy but before your need to choose this option, consider this five-step program first to rid yourself of bad debt with bankruptcy.

1. The desire to get out of debt

This is the most important part of any debt free program. Lip service is not acceptable because it is going to be hard work on your part. It’s going to require lifestyle changes and breaking of bad spending habits. You must get yourself ready and have an ultimate desire to get out of debt.

2. Assessing just how much debt you have

Before you put in your actions to resolve your debt issue, you need to know how much debt you have and who you owe. The best way is list down all your debts on to a piece of paper or enters your debts into any of personal finance program you use to assist you. Then, break it down further by listing down each interest rate of each credit card you current paying of. The most current information can be found on your card statement.

3. Devise a workable plan

You need a plan that you can live with. Write it down so that you will be more committed to it. You need to stop adding more debts, stop using credit cards. And try to call your creditors and ask if they would be willing to lower their interest rate. Other actions that you can put into your plan are:

* Generate and review your cash flow worksheet so that you know where your money going to come from each month to reduce your credit card debt.

* Things that you willing to change or give up to make the goal of being debt-free happen.

* Explode a few ways to increase your monthly income to cover for your debt payment.

* Assets that you may sell off to cash out to pay for your debts.

Start out with baby steps, paying more than the minimum each month. You can either choose to pay off the card with the higher interest first or choose the one with the lowest balance so that you can eliminate that one quickly.

4. Cancel all your credit card but leave one

This may be painful living without the credit card, but look what having these cards has done to you. Get the scissor out and cut all of them except one so that you will able to use it. Then, call to the credit card companies and call all your credit cards that you have put the scissor on; this is to stop you from asking for a replacement card later.

Now, what do you do with the last card? Carrying it in your wallet makes it too easy to access and use it for impulse purchase. You should keep it in a place where it will take an effort to retrieve it. This last card will only be used for any emergency purpose.

5. Seek for professional help if you just can’t manage it on your own

If you find that you can’t manage your debts at your own, then getting help from debt managing professional should be your option. You can contact the National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC). This is a national network of nonprofit organization that provide consumer education, debt counseling and debt repayment program. Their counselors can help you set up a budget and re-establish credit.

In summary

If you always trap into bad debt situation, bankruptcy filing a fastest step for debt relief but it is not the best option as the impacts will follow you for many years. Always access other alternatives to rid yourself of bad debt without bankruptcy. The above five-step program can be your guide for better option.

Cornie Herring is the Author from http://www.StudyKiosk.com. An informational website on credit basics, debt consolidation & bankruptcy. Learn more about money from our Manage Your Money for Debt Free Life.
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Keep Bankruptcy as Far as Possible With Debt Consolidation

The bankruptcy menace is always latent for those who cannot control their debt. If your income to debt ratio is too low, any unexpected circumstance that worsens your financial situation can easily lead to default and eventually to bankruptcy. In order to avoid such a threat, you can always resort to debt consolidation.

Are your bills pilling up? Debt keeps accumulating? You can’t pay even the minimum payments on your credit cards? No one will lend you money due to your bad credit? You’ve entered what some consultants call the vicious circle of debt. Debt accumulates and due to interests and not enough income people can’t reimburse the money they owe and debt keeps growing more and more.

This is not an uncommon situation but it is really dangerous to your financial health and with luck, even if you can avoid bankruptcy you have at least two years ahead of you where you’ll have to fight to rebuild your credit score and improve your credit history. During this period, your ability to get finance will be considerably reduced. Debt Consolidation: Escaping The Vicious Circle

One way of interrupting this process of debt accumulation is to consolidate your debt. This can be achieved by negotiating directly with your creditors or by hiring the services of a debt consolidation agency. Depending of the expertise of the agent assigned to your case, you can get up to a 65% debt reduction under the right circumstances. However, unless the debt consolidation agency has special agreements with creditors, your credit score will be affected negatively if you choose to consolidate.

Nevertheless, if your debt has become unbearable, a reduction on your credit score due to undertaking a debt consolidation program is a price you’ll have to pay. After negotiating with your creditors you’ll end up with lower monthly payments, a considerable debt reduction and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are no longer at risk of loosing all your properties. Continued timely payments on your remaining debt will help you recover your credit score and achieve a good credit tag.

Sometimes, after debt negotiation or as an alternative to it, you can obtain a debt consolidation loan. Debt consolidation loans provide a considerable amount of money that has to be used to cancel outstanding debt. You get debt relief by obtaining lower monthly payments and a lower interest rate than the average of your previous debt and the lender in return makes sure he is your only creditor and will have priority when it comes to recovering his money.

If you choose not to resort to a debt consolidation loan you can also get a single monthly payment since most debt consolidation agencies, as part of the negotiation process, agree with the creditors that they will handle the payments on your behalf. Thus, you’ll pay each month a single amount to the debt consolidation agency which in turn will deliver the money to the creditors. If you choose to take advantage of these services, make sure you get the corresponding receipts that prove that payments where actually made in order to avoid missed payments from appearing in your credit report.

Devora Witts is a certified loan consultant with several years of experience in the credit area who instructs people regarding credit recovery and approval for personal loans, home loans, consolidation loans, car loans, student loans, unsecured loans and many other types of loans. If you want to understand <a href="http://www.badcreditloanservices.com/bad-credit-personal-loans.html” rel=”nofollow”>Guaranteed Bad Credit Loans and <a href="http://www.badcreditloanservices.com/unsecured-and-secured-credit-cards.html” rel=”nofollow”>Unsecured Credit Cards thoroughly you can visit her site http://www.badcreditloanservices.com
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17 Debt Advice Tips for Australians

Debt problems come in all shapes and sizes from the occasional cash flow crisis to the full on, out of control, debt nightmare that requires professional debt advice.

For Australians experiencing short term debt problems a number of easy steps are open to them.

1 One of the simplest and best debt advice tips is drawing up a budget and sticking to it so that it’s easy to see what money is coming in and what’s heading out.

2 Most consumers’ wallets contain credit and store cards that they have had for some years. As consumers get older their credit score often improves with age, meaning they could be eligible for cheaper credit cards and could save money if they switched lender. It is possible to switch away hundreds of dollars of credit card interest this way.

3 Getting a list of standing orders and direct debits from your bank is a good way of spotting non-essential outgoings that could be put to better use.

4 Interest free loan and buy now pay later deals are often expensive and designed to part consumers from their hard earned cash. It is best to avoid these deals, and only buy what you can pay in cash for.

5 Pay more than the minimum monthly payments on all credit cards, otherwise you will be paying more than you need to in interest payments.

6 If you have a home loan, think about refinancing. If you do your sums carefully you could save money on an introductory cheap rate.

For consumers who are facing more than short term debt problems a number of alternative steps are available.

7 Think about consolidating all credit and store card debt into one loan. Average loan rates are significantly less than those for average credit and store cards. Applying for two smaller loans, rather than one large one, can make it easier to get your loan accepted.

8 Don’t extend any loan for more than 3 or 4 years, doing so can make the total cost of the loan much more expensive, for just small monthly savings.

9 Consumers with consumer credit insurance should consider cancelling it, as it not good value for money. It was highlighted as a ‘junk insurance’ by the Australian Consumer’s Association. CCI adds a considerable amount to the monthly cost of credit, and it won’t give any advantage to a credit application.

10 Consumers with a mortgage could think about re-mortgaging and consolidate their credit or store card debts into their mortgage, at a lower rate of interest.

11 Consumers struggling with their debt need to prioritise their monthly payments, to ensure that the essentials are paid first. Failure to pay the mortgage, secured loan or rent can lead to homelessness, so it’s always important to pay these first. Don’t pay the lender that shouts the loudest first.

12 There are government funded independent financial counsellors in all parts of Australia. They can give consumers free expert debt advice. Consumers who need to deal with their creditors to reduce their payments can get help with an Informal Arrangement through their local free financial counsellor.

13 If a consumer’s debt problems have become a real horror story, there are a number of options to relieve the stress and burden and achieve a fresh start.

14 Bankruptcy is an option for those who cannot see any way of repaying their debts. For $400 it wipes the slate clean. Creditors are no longer able to pursue a customer who has been declared bankrupt, and the consumer will be discharged after three years.

The downside of bankruptcy is that it remains on a consumer’s credit file for seven years. Their assets, which could include their home, will be sold off by a Registered Trustee or the Insolvency and Trustee Service. A contribution is taken from bankrupts who earn over a certain level, currently around $40,000, to pay their creditors.

15 An alternative to formal bankruptcy is a Debt Agreement, targeted at people on low incomes with few assets. This can reduce the amount consumers owe to their creditors by agreeing a compromise deal. Debt Agreements tend to be used by consumers struggling with their credit cards or loan payments, and who earn less than $58,000 after tax. These can be administered by Registered Trustees, ITSA or a third party. Service fees can be around 20%. As long as 75% of creditors agree, a formal Debt Agreement is binding on creditors.

16 A more expensive alternative to a Debt Agreement is a Personal Insolvency Agreement. These are open to more consumers, but can be more expensive because they can only be administered by a Registered Trustee or ITSA. Both Debt Agreements and Personal Insolvency Agreements appear on credit reports for 7 years.

17 For more debt advice information, check out the debt advice published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission entitled: “Dealing with debt: Your rights and responsibilities.”

Description: Many more Australians are in need of good debt advice since the onset of the credit crunch. This article contains top tips for people facing a cashflow crisis to those in need of hitting the financial reset button.

Tristan Dunston is an independent public relations consultant specialising in finance and privacy matters. He loves whitewater kayaking and photography
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Get in Control of your Credit Card Debt

There are some risks involved in using a Credit Card for financing everyday expenses. Credit Card debt is one of the most common financial problems and it is not easily solved. Here are some tips on how to reduce credit card debt and take control over your finances. Vicious Circle Of Debt

The main virtue of credit cards is also the main problem when it comes to uncontrolled debt. Credit cards let you purchase goods even when you do not have the cash to do so. If you have discipline you can use this feature on your advantage by enjoying something you buy today and save to pay for it in a longer period of time. However, lack of discipline will lead you to be tempted to purchase goods without consideration and exceeding your repayment capacity.

Thus, debt accumulates in your balance. If, when payment is due, you can not cancel the balance in full, you will probably pay a smaller amount and finance the rest. This will imply interests that will add up to your balance. If you do not stop buying goods, you will not be able to pay the balance in full and debt will keep accumulating. Time will come when you will not be able to pay the minimum amount on your credit card and you will incur in penalty fees and higher interest rates will be charged on the unpaid balance.

Though exaggerated as it may seem, this scenario is very common and it often leads to default or even bankruptcy. The consequences of such events are devastating to your credit score. Your ability to get finance will shrink till it disappears completely. Recovering from such situation takes many years.

There are however many things you can do to avoid these situations and start reducing your debt till you become debt free. If you achieve some discipline and follow this advice, you will not ever need to worry about your credit again. Avoid Minimum Payments

Most of a minimum payment is interests, thus if you pay only the minimum payments you will not be reducing your debt significantly. The key to success in reducing credit card debt is to pay as much as possible but always over the minimum. By doing so, though it may not show right away, you will end up saving thousands of dollars in interests on the long run.

If you have multiple credit card, check which of them has the highest interest rate and if you can not transfer the balance, pay as much money as possible in that card and only the minimum on the others. Once the balance is fully paid, return the credit card and continue with the next higher interest credit card. This way, you will be saving a lot of money on interests too. Cut On Non-Essential Expenses

At least till you reduce your debt substantially, you need to lower the amount of money you spend on non-essential expenses. Buy only what you specifically need. It is important that you make some sacrifices, in the future you will be able to retake those expenses and you will have avoided worse problems than pilling up bills and debt like default or bankruptcy. Consolidating Your Debt

If all this does not work, you can request a consolidation loan to pay off al your debt and cancel your credit cards or contact a debt consolidation agency to negotiate with your creditors new repayment plans with lower and affordable installments. However, this should only be done as a last resort since it may affect your credit score negatively.

Melissa Kellett is an expert loan consultant who has worked for twenty years in the financial industry and helps people to repair their credit and get approved for home loans, unsecured personal loans, student loans, consolidation loans, car loans and many other types of loans and financial products. If you want to learn more about <a href="http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/credit-card-consolidation.html” rel=”nofollow”>Credit Card Consolidation and <a href="http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/free-online-debt-consolidation.html” rel=”nofollow”>Debt Consolidation you can visit her site http://www.speedybadcreditloans.com/
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Learn How to Avoid Bankruptcy and Become Debt Free

Many events may drive you to bankruptcy. Actually, except in certain situations, bankruptcy is nothing but the result of a buildup of unfortunate financial decision and unexpected events. Nevertheless, there are ways to prevent it and to keep debt at a reasonable level in order to maintain a healthy financial situation. Planning Ahead

Unless you are a fortune-teller, you can not foresee what is going to happen in the future. Therefore, you should start preparing for the unexpected. It may sound pointless but the truth is that if you have enough savings you will be able to avoid getting in debt most of the time.

In order to be prepared for what may happen, you should always make a budget and stick to it as tight as possible. Within the budget you need to include all your income and expenses, including your debt installments and an average of credit card payments.

You should make a plan for reducing your debt progressively. If you can take a low interest loan to pay off your credit card debt, then you should make payments above the minimum in order to keep reducing your debt. You need to always pay at least a little more than the interest charged for financing.

An excellent idea is to leave round numbers in your balance. For example if the overall debt is $2423.15 and the minimum payment is $380.57 then, you can pay exactly $423.15, so the amount you owe would be $2000, which is an amount easy to trace in the budget. Order Your Payments According To Importance

Even though the above idea is useful, you should always pay more than the minimum in your credit card balances. Moreover, you should pay as much as possible since credit cards carry the highest interest rates. First of all you should pay for essential services and expenses. But immediately after that you should try to cancel the highest interest debt.

Though you should check the interest rates charged along with any other costs and fees. The usual priority order according to the interest rate charged is: Payday Loans and Cash Advance Loans, Credit Card Balances, Personal Loans, Car Loans, Home Equity Loans and Mortgage Loans. If feasible, you should try to get rid of the first ones as soon as possible without neglecting paying the others, especially those who are guaranteed by an asset such as mortgage loans and home equity loans. Consolidation Loans

If you can request and get approved for a consolidation loan, the main problem would be solved. You will use the money to cancel high interest debt like payday loans and credit card balances. Afterwards you should avoid incurring into more debt and you should always keep your budget balanced. After Debt Reduction

After you get rid of your debt, or even when you have it under control you need to start putting some money aside in order to save for any unexpected event. This way, you will be able to avoid getting yourself into the vicious circle of debt again. If you ever need to use that money, make sure to rebuild your savings fast as soon as the unexpected event’s consequences have passed.

Devora Witts is a certified loan consultant with several years of experience in the credit area who instructs people regarding credit recovery and approval for personal loans, home loans, consolidation loans, car loans, student loans, unsecured loans and many other types of loans. If you want to understand <a href="http://www.badcreditloanservices.com/bankruptcy.html” rel=”nofollow”>Loans After Bankruptcy and <a href="http://www.badcreditloanservices.com/debt-consolidation.html” rel=”nofollow”>Debt Consolidation thoroughly you can visit her site http://www.badcreditloanservices.com
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Debt Settlement – Realistic Expectations

It never fails to amuse me to hear critics of debt settlement warning those who are considering this form of debt relief that they may be facing a tax liability as a result of canceled debt. Even funnier are the warnings about the effect that debt settlement will have on your credit score.
Why do I find this amusing? Well, apparently these so-called “experts” have never been in a situation where they’re forced to choose between bankruptcy, debt consolidation, debt settlement or consumer credit counseling. When you’re faced with tough financial decisions, and you’re unable to make ends meet, the last thing you should be concerned with is your credit score. Rather, it’s time to find a solution to put your debt and sleepless nights behind you.
If you’re contemplating debt settlement, but have heard some negative feedback you may have some legitimate concerns. That being said, please understand that your concerns relating to debt settlement should lie strictly in the area of some debt settlement firms out there who want nothing more than to take your money and provide little to no service. This should be your number one concern, not your credit score or tax liability. We’ll talk more about debt settlement firms in a moment, but first let’s take a look at those factors which seem to have the critics so concerned.
Will you have a tax liability if you should decide to seek relief through debt settlement? You may or may not. Creditors are required to report all canceled debt over the amount of $600 to the IRS, and you will be required to report that canceled debt as income, and will likely be provided a Form 1099 from each creditor from whom you have received relief in the form of debt settlement. Keep in mind, however, that an “insolvency” rule exists for individuals who are considered insolvent at the time they settled their debts. This means that if your liabilities exceed your assets at the time of each settlement with your creditors, you are classified as insolvent, and will not likely face a tax liability. I highly recommend that you talk with a professional tax advisor to see where you stand with regard to the insolvency rule. Even if you are faced with a tax liability, what’s the big deal? Owing taxes due to debt settlement is simply because you realized a savings, and no doubt you’ll be much further ahead than would be the case if you remained thousands of dollars in debt, barely keeping your head above water each month.
As for your credit score, again, I don’t quite understand why this would be a concern. You’re in debt, you’re losing sleep and you don’t know how you’ll do it from one month to the next. Why worry about your credit score? One of the major perks of good credit is to obtain more credit – I think you’ll agree that you probably don’t want or need anymore credit at this particular time. Put your debt behind you and then start thinking about your credit score. In any case, the impact on your credit score through debt settlement is only temporary, and most people see a much improved score within 6-9 months of completing a debt settlement program. As a matter of fact, I talked with a former client just eight months after she paid off her final settlement, and she already had a 681 credit score. Not bad, considering had she not chosen to negotiate with her creditors she would still be borrowing from one credit card to pay another, and the cycle could have continued for several more years.
Some critics wonder what the actual savings through debt settlement really is, considering that interest and late fees continue to accrue prior to reaching a settlement agreement. Well, in most cases people do realize a significant amount of savings – even after late fees and interest, tax liabilities and debt settlement firm fees. Let’s say, however, that you’re $50,000 in debt, enter a debt settlement program and in the end (after paying taxes and professional fees) you only end up saving $10,000 (which is not very likely). So what? You still saved $10,000, which is a lot of money. You’re no longer paying minimum monthly payments, which could take up to 40 years to pay off. You saved thousands and thousands of dollars in interest that you would have ended up paying had you decided to continue making your monthly payments. You’re out of debt much sooner than you would have been if you had chosen another path. And best of all, you’re out of debt – period.
So, as you can see, debt settlement in itself is not necessarily the evil that some people would like you to believe it is. Some debt settlement firms, however, are. Because of this it’s very important to properly research this area prior to hiring a firm to represent you. First, please check the Better Business Bureau record of each company you’re considering. After you’ve narrowed it down, talk to those remaining companies and find out how their fee structure works, and if it sounds like they can be trusted. If a company you’re considering wants their fee up front – prior to providing a service – move on. It may take some extra time, but you can find reputable firms that will not charge you a fee until they have reached satisfactory results.
Hopefully I’ve cleared up some misconceptions about debt settlement for you. If you have additional questions regarding debt settlement, please visit http://donaldsonwilliams.com/Debt_Settlement.html. Congratulations on taking the first step toward a debt-free lifestyle.

The American Foreclosure Crisis and Forgiven Debt—relief at Last!

 

I’ve had a lot of clients worried about the foreclosure crisis lately. Clients who lost their homes are terrified of the tax repercussions of their once-expensive home selling for a pittance; then the mortgage lender turning around and issuing them a IRS Form 1099 for the forgiven debt. Imagine the horror– You’ve already lost your home to foreclosure— and now you have to pay thousands of dollars in taxes on the forgiven debt, too! The worst possible scenario!

 

Do not despair– all is not lost. Congress signed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act in 2007 to help the millions of homeowners who are dealing with this crisis. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act allows homeowners to exclude the forgiven debt from their foreclosed home, and saves already distressed homeowners from the additional blow of forgiven debt on their tax return.

 

Usually, debt that is forgiven or cancelled by a lender must be included as income on your tax return and is taxable. The lender essentially has to “eat the cost” of the difference between what the homeowner owes on the property and what the bank eventually sells the distressed property for.

 

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows you to exclude certain cancelled debt on your principal residence from income. The Act applies to cancelled debt used to buy, build or improve your principal residence. The Act applies to homeowners whose loan was less than $2 million. The Act does not apply to second homes, rental property, or other investment property. The Act applies to debt forgiven in 2007, 2008 or 2009.

 

The cancelled debt listed on your Form 1099 still must be reported on your tax return, even though it will not be taxable. The amount of debt forgiven must be reported on Form 982 (Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness). This Form 982 must be filled out and attached to your tax return.

 

Form 982 is used for other purposes in addition to reporting the exclusion of forgiveness of qualified principal residence indebtedness. If you are using the form only to report the forgiven debt on a  principal residence, you only need to complete lines 1e and 2. If you kept ownership of your home and modification of the terms of your mortgage resulted in the forgiveness of qualified principal residence indebtedness, complete lines 1e, 2, and 10b.

 

Your lender should send a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, by January 31, 2008. The amount of debt forgiven or cancelled will be shown in box 2. If this debt is all qualified principal residence indebtedness, the amount shown in box 2 will generally be the amount that you enter on lines 2 and 10b, if applicable, on Form 982. 

 

And more good news– even if part of the forgiven debt doesn’t qualify for exclusion from income under this provision, is it possible that your forgiven debt will qualify under the IRS’ “insolvency” exclusion. If you believe you qualify for debt exclusion under the IRS’ “insolvency” exclusion, it is recommended that you see a tax professional to help you.

 

I hope this article has eased your fears about this crisis that so many Americans are facing this year. As long as you keep good records and fill out the proper forms for the IRS, you can breathe easy and know that your will not suffer an additional hardship from cancelled debt on your primary residence.

 

Christy Pinheiro, EA is an Enrolled Agent and holds a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University. She has over 15 years of business and accounting experience. She was a staff accountant for a private CPA firm and also for the State of California before going into private practice. Her finance and tax articles have been published in numerous periodicals. She is the author of Pineapple Guides’ EA Exam Review book series.
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