Archive for: ‘April 2017’

The IRS is Using Private Debt Collectors- Here’s what Consumers Need to Know

April 21, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The IRS has entered into contracts with four private debt collection agencies- Conserve, Pioneer, Performant and CBE Group.  These agencies will only take over accounts if several criteria are met:

  1. The tax debt has been removed from the IRS’s active inventory due to a lack of resources or an inability to find the taxpayer;
  2. More than one-third of the applicable limitation period has passed and no IRS employee has been assigned to collect the debt;
  3. The debt has been assigned for collection, but more than 365 days have passed without interaction with the taxpayer for purposes of furthering collection of the debt.

These collection agencies are required to abide by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  This means they cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; they cannot contact you at work if you have told them not to; they cannot falsely claim you have committed a crime; they cannot misrepresent the amount you owe or threaten you with harm or arrest for lack of payment.

Consumers need to be aware of tax scammers looking to capitalize on this new IRS protocol.  Tax scammers oftentimes ask their victims pay their alleged debts by purchasing prepaid cards and then call back with the cards’ codes. Another common scam involves having large amounts of money sent via wire transfer.

This will never be the case with the listed contracted debt collectors, according to the IRS.  In fact, taxpayers will not be asked to pay the private debt collectors anything. Instead, these collectors will provide information about electronic payment options for taxpayers on IRS.gov/Pay.  Even written checks will need to be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection companies.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Student Loan Forgiveness Letters May be Invalid

April 20, 2017 Posted by kingcade

More than 550,000 student loan borrowers who signed up for a federal program that promised to repay their student loans after they work 10 years in a public service job may be invalid, according to the Department of Education.

In a court filing last week, the Education Department suggested that borrowers could not rely on the program’s administrator to say accurately whether they qualify for student loan debt forgiveness. Even more appalling, the thousands of approval letters sent out by FedLoan Servicing are considered to be non-binding and can be rescinded at any time.

The filing adds to questions and concerns about the student loan forgiveness program, which offered major benefits and incentives for student loan borrowers who took public service jobs instead of more lucrative work in the private sector.

The American Bar Association and several borrowers have filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Washington against the department.  The plaintiffs in the case held jobs that they initially were told qualified for the debt forgiveness program; only later to find out the decision was reversed. The lawsuit seeks to have their eligibility for the forgiveness program reinstated.

The student loan debt forgiveness program covers people with federal student loans who work for 10 years at a government or nonprofit organization, and includes public school employees, museum workers, doctors at public hospitals and firefighters. The federal government approved the program back in 2007.  The first potential beneficiaries of the program reach the end of their 10-year commitment this October.

Approximately 25 percent of the nation’s workforce may qualify for the program, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Why are mortgages getting cheaper?

April 19, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The average rate of a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.08% this week, the fourth consecutive week of declines and the lowest level this year, according to Freddie Mac.

A higher Federal Funds rate makes it more expensive for banks to borrow money, which can translate into higher borrowing rates for consumers. But recent global uncertainty and signs that the White House might not be as productive with its agenda as many thought has caused yields to recently fall. The 10-year Treasury yield is around 2.23%, down from around 2.62% nearly a month ago. Mortgage rates have moved lower as well.

Freddie Mac predicts that we will see rates increase to around 4.5% by the end of the year.  Potential home buyers should welcome the drop in rates with open arms as the busy buying season heats up.

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Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

How to Spot a Real IRS Debt Collection Call from a Scam

April 18, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The IRS recently announced that it will be making collection calls to collect on delinquent taxes, something they maintained for years would never happen.  Not surprisingly, scammers are making the most of the opportunity.  According to the IRS, losses have mounted to more than $20,000,000, as a result of the IRS Imposter Scam.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, consider these important tips to determine if the call is real or a scam.

  • There are only four authorized firms nationwide, which include:
  1. CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa;
  2. Conserve of Fairport, N.Y.;
  3. Performant of Livermore, Calif.; and
  4. Pioneer of Horseheads, N.Y.
  • If you owe taxes, only one of these firms will contact you.
  • You likely know who you are. You will not receive a call if you pay your taxes on-time and regularly. If you are delinquent in tax payments, you will receive multiple written notifications from the IRS, before your case is turned over to one of the listed debt collection firms.
  • The IRS will send a letter to notify you that your case has been turned over to one of these companies. The collection company will also send you a letter regarding their authorization to call on behalf of the IRS.
  • The company will not ask for payment to be made to them, nor will they ask for payment on a Money Card.
  • These companies will not threaten you.

If you are still unsure if you have unpaid tax debts from previous years, you can go to IRS.gov and check your account balance. If the account balance says zero that means nothing is due, and you should not be receiving calls from the IRS or one of these collection companies.

Click here to learn more on the IRS Imposter Scam.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

400 Percent Increase in Scams this Tax Season

April 17, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to the IRS, there has been a 400 percent increase in tax scams during this year’s filing season, compared to last year. The IRS has issued warnings about the growing threat of scams as the end of tax season nears. Scammers use tax season to trick taxpayers into disclosing confidential information so they can access bank accounts, make fraudulent purchases, apply for loans and steal tax refunds.

The most common way scammers steal W-2s is through phishing emails. Hackers create a fake email address, posing as a CEO or CFO of a company and send a request to an employee in payroll asking for a PDF of all employees’ W-2s.

According to the Department of Justice, stolen identity tax refund fraud has affected hundreds of thousands of taxpayers and has cost the United States Treasury billions of dollars.

Other common scams claim there is an urgent situation requiring taxpayers’ immediate attention, such as an issue with processing refunds, additional forms or an audit warning.

The best way to protect yourself from tax scams is to know the signs:

  • Emails that appear to be from the IRS with suspicious links and attachments
  • Text messages that instruct you to call a toll-free number
  • Phone calls with pre-recorded messages that ask for confidential information

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.