Archive for: ‘March 2012’

Florida Awarded $8 Billion in Foreclosure Settlement

March 16, 2012 Posted by kingcade

State and Federal authorities recently finalized the $25 billion settlement with banks, and awarded the State of Florida $8 billion in payments and credits from the settlement.
Florida has a guarantee from Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America for at least $4 billion in relief from the settlement first unveiled February 9. The guarantee for Florida includes a minimum $3.1 billion to cut principal and modify loans for financially troubled consumers. And it involves at least $309 million in refinancing for borrowers who are current on mortgage payments but stuck in higher-interest loans that exceed home values.
Critics of the proposed settlement say the relief allotted to Florida is disappointing: up to $2,000 for borrowers who lost their homes in foreclosure abuses and an average $20,000 cut in principal on mishandled loans worth more than the value of the homes.
The settlement with the nation’s five largest lenders: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial require at least $20 billion in help to borrowers by trimming principal and other means.
To read more on this story visit: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/fl-foreclosure-settlement-finalized-20120312,0,6790648.story

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well qualified attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

State of Oklahoma takes steps to Prevent the Collection of “Zombie Debt”

March 12, 2012 Posted by kingcade

Senator Gary Stanislawski introduced a bill to the Oklahoma state legislature, which would make it illegal for debt collection companies to try and collect on debt that has exceeded its statute of limitations, otherwise known as, “zombie debt.” The purpose of the bill is to make it illegal for collection companies to collect this type of debt. The bill would also require collection companies to present proof that they own the debt and can legally collect on it. Another term of the bill would create a requirement that debtor’s information be passed to the entity that purchased it.

The debt collection companies who purchase “zombie debt” from credit companies tend to pay very little for this type of debt. For this reason, even if the collection companies are only able to receive a small payment amount from the debtor, they are still making a substantial profit from this practice. If passed, the bill will help those individuals being harassed for debt that they legally no longer owe.

To read more on this story visit: http://www.chapter7.com/ok-bill-would-ban-collection-of-zombie-credit-debt/

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced attorney who can advise you of all of your options. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Florida Bill to Speed up Foreclosure Process

March 12, 2012 Posted by kingcade

A bill to speed up the foreclosure process is on the fast track to becoming a law in the State of Florida. So far, the majority seem to be in support of the bill. However, many Florida attorneys and government officials see several problems if the bill becomes a law. The bill is intended to speed up the foreclosure process for homes that have been abandoned or in cases which the defendant is unable to prove a legitimate reason they should not lose their home in a “show cause” hearing. If the individual is unable to prove his or her case, the bill will allow the lienholder to immediately file a judgment of foreclosure on the home.

Another way the bill would change the foreclosure process is that banks will no longer be able to file a deficiency judgment for more than one year. A deficiency judgment is how much debt is still left after the property is resold. Currently, banks may file a deficiency judgment for up to five years.

Critics of the bill see a problem due to the fact that Florida courts have always ruled that when homeowners are absent from their homes, the homes are not considered “abandoned.” Another criticism with the bill is that homeowners who lost their homes due to fraudulent foreclosure practices are only able to receive monetary compensation and have no chance of repossessing their homes. However, the most substantial problem with the bill, deals with the “show cause” hearing. Attorneys say that it is difficult to prove a defendant’s case because there is typically very little time and that most initial court documents filed are false, but it is impossible to tell they are false.

If the bill is passed, it will go into effect July 1, 2012. The law will apply to any future and current foreclosures that are making their way through the system.

To read more on this story visit: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/foreclosures/bill-to-streamline-foreclosures-moves-one-step-closer-2203415.html

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well qualified attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

“Dirty Dozen” of 2011

March 12, 2012 Posted by kingcade

Every year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues a list called the “Dirty Dozen.” The “Dirty Dozen” consists of the twelve most commonly used tax scams and fraudulent tax crimes of the previous year. The IRS urges all taxpayers to use caution, due to this being the most prevalent time these scams are carried out.

Below is a list and short description of each scam.

• Identity Theft is the most common tax scam and due to evolving technology, it is quickly becoming the most complex scam for the IRS to track. Thieves are collecting personal and financial information, then proceeding to file and collect tax refunds. The IRS was able to protect $1.4 billion from being wrongfully issued in 2011, in various identity theft schemes. If a taxpayer is issued a statement that more than one return has been filed, this is a red flag and the taxpayer should contact the IRS immediately.

• Phishing is a scam that is typically carried out by the use of a fictitious e-mail account. The scam artist will create an email address that will trick taxpayers into disclosing their personal and financial information, and then use this information to collect tax refunds in their name. In some cases, the scam will claim to be the IRS or an affiliate in need of personal information. Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS would never initially approach anyone through e-mail. Such e-mails should immediately be reported to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

• Return Preparer Fraud is a commonly used tax scam. Many taxpayers use a preparer to file their tax returns and some are scammed out of their refunds due to return preparer fraud. Two common ways preparer fraud is committed is by “skimming off” the refunds belonging to taxpayers and also some preparers charge inflated fees. Starting in 2012 there is a requirement for any preparer to enter an identification number before filing another persons’ tax return, to try to reduce the potential for fraud.

• Hiding Offshore Income is a way many wealthy Americans have gotten away with tax evasion. Americans hide a large portion of their income in offshore accounts and use mostly wire transfers to access their money. Those who commit tax evasion by hiding income offshore can be charged fines and penalties and can be criminally prosecuted by the federal government. In 2009 due to the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, about 30,000 Americans came forward and cleared themselves of their tax evasions.

• “Free Money” scams are typically targeted towards the lower income sector of taxpayers and the elderly. Scam artists approach taxpayers with hopes of free money due to refunds from their social security checks. These individuals are then scammed out of their own money for the services to submit these refunds, when their claims are ultimately rejected.
• Inflated Income and Expenses are another tax scam where taxpayers claim income that was not earned or they inflated the actual amount of income in order to collect a larger sum in their refund. In other cases, taxpayers falsely claim expenses to collect a refund on them.

• False Refund Forms such as a 1099 are typically filed to justify a false refund. Many taxpayers are under the impression that the government has a secret account to issue refunds for U.S. citizens if these forms are filed. This can ultimately result in penalties and criminal prosecution.

• Frivolous Arguments is a type of scheme taxpayers who owe the government large sums of money typically try to use in their court cases. Taxpayers are allowed to contest their tax obligations, but the use of false or unreasonable claims in court can result in cases being thrown out.

• Falsely Claiming Zero Wages is a tax scam used to reduce the amount of taxes the taxpayer owes.

• Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions is another scam where certain organizations claim donations of a non-cash asset at an over-valued price to ultimately collect on it.

• Disguised Corporate Ownership is a scam conducted by the formation of a third party to try and hide the ownership of the corporation. These entities are used to hide assets, income and report false deductions. Many are also used to enable money laundering.

• Misuses of Trusts are a way to evade taxes by promising a reduction of income that would be subject to tax. Some of the uses are legal however many times the IRS has found that many use this to hide assets.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced attorney who can advise you of all of your options. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Congress not likely to Renew Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act- Underwater Homeowners need to Act Fast

March 2, 2012 Posted by kingcade

In October of 2007, Congress passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act to help underwater homeowners who were struggling to pay their mortgages. In most cases, any debt you have been relieved of by your creditors should be listed on your taxes as income, which means the taxpayer would owe on this amount. Due to the housing bubble burst and the resulting real estate crisis, this Act was passed to allow taxpayers to be forgiven of this amount.

This tax relief applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2012. The debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve the homeowner’s principal residence and must have been secured by that residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, may also qualify for the relief.

It is important that underwater homeowners act fast to take advantage of this important tax break, as foreclosure and short sale proceedings can take up to a year to process.
Due to the $2.7 billion this has cost the government in only two years, many believe it is unlikely that this Act will be renewed at the end of its term in December of 2012.

To read more on this story visit: http://www.allgov.com/Top_Stories/ViewNews/Congress_May_End_Program_Allowing_Tax_Relief_for_Mortgage_Modifiers_120225

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well qualified attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.