Debt Relief, Tax Debt

Three Cost-Effective Ways to Pay Off Tax Debt

With tax season coming to an end, many consumers are wondering how they are going to pay their outstanding tax bill. When it comes to tax debt, it is best to pay it off as quickly as possible and in one lump sum payment. However, payment in full is not always possible. Fortunately, there are options available for those struggling with tax debt. 

The official tax filing deadline was May 17, and all outstanding 2020 tax bills were technically due at that time. If a taxpayer was not able to pay the bill by this date, interest and penalties will begin accruing on the outstanding amount owed.   The penalty for not paying tax bills in full is 0.5 percent of the unpaid amount monthly until the full amount is paid. On top of interest, penalties will add up to 25 percent of the total amount owed. Because of these penalties, the quicker the tax bill can be paid, the better.  

Debt Collection

Can a Creditor Come After Money that is Gifted?

The law allows for a certain amount of money to be gifted to individuals with no tax consequences on an annual basis. For the 2020 tax year, the gift tax exclusion amount is $15,000. Many aging parents take advantage of this exclusion to reduce their probate estate and avoid tax penalties by gifting up to this amount to their adult children annually. However, if the adult child they are gifting this money to has his or her own financial struggles and is being pursued for creditors, that money could be fair game. 

The problem is that this money is not protected if the receiving party is being pursued by a creditor for an outstanding debt. If the debt is valid and still legally collectible, money that is gifted to the consumer is reachable for purposes of satisfying what is owed.   

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Tax Filing Tips to Speed up the Refund Process and Prevent Theft

Income tax refund fraud has been a problem in recent years, and much of this fraud occurs when it comes to filing your taxes and waiting for the refund to be processed. The Better Business Bureau (BBB), along with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), recommends certain tips to help taxpayers prepare and submit their paperwork quickly to ensure their tax return is protected.

Identity theft has become an issue over recent years through data breaches of many trusted tax sites. The IRS recommends tax preparers be cautious when it comes to sending information for taxes. Fake clients have been known to ask for help with tax returns by sending tax preparers infected email attachments. Once these attachments are opened, the virus has already made its way into the computer system, hacking into important client information.

Information can be protected through filing returns via a computerized e-filing system. The preparer can also have the refunds deposited directly into a bank account through a secured system to protect the refund. Not only do these systems get the job done in a more efficient manner, but they also protect the confidential information involved in the tax submission and refund.

The following tips are helpful when it comes to speeding up the refund process and preventing fraud or theft:

  • Check the credentials of the tax preparer, ensuring that the preparer is a certified public account, tax attorney or enrolled agent.
  • Get referrals for tax preparers from friends, family, the local Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau.
  • Avoid using tax preparers who promise they can produce larger refunds than their competitors.
  • Do not sign a blank tax return, even if the tax preparer states that this is solely for “convenience” purposes.
  • Carefully review the contract entered into with the tax preparer.
  • Ensure that submission of tax documents is done via a secured Internet connection and not through a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Shred copies of tax returns, drafts or calculation sheets that are no longer needed.
  • If the preparer does not wish to file electronically, mail the tax return in a USPS mailbox or directly at the post office.
  • Ignore unsolicited telephone calls or emails that state they are from the IRS but do not appear to be official.
  • Respond to any communication that is official as soon as possible, or at least send the communication to your accountant or tax preparer.

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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 of 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Foreclosures, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Exceptions to Paying Tax on Forgiven Debt

If you recently had debt forgiven or negotiated down last year, you likely breathed a sigh of relief.  However, 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 as income on your tax return, depending on the circumstances. Before you write a check to the IRS, see if you qualify for one of these exceptions to paying tax on forgiven debt.

  • Debts discharged in bankruptcy. If you filed for bankruptcy protection, you do not have to pay tax on the canceled debt.
  • Mortgage debt forgiven due to foreclosure. Originally set to expire after the 2012 tax year, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act protects you from having to pay tax on debt forgiven when you lose your home in foreclosure.  The deadline has been extended several times, most recently in December 2015 to include the calendar years 20017 through 2016.  And in early 2017, a bill to grant another exemption was introduced to Congress.
  • Debts canceled when you were insolvent. This is the most common exception, because debt is generally only cancelled when debtors are “insolvent” (i.e. – completely broke).  This exclusion only applies up to the amount by which you are insolvent.
  • Student loans forgiven after you have worked for a period of time. If your student loans contain a loan forgiveness provision based on service in your profession, do not include the canceled debt as income. In addition, certain federal student loans that were discharged by the U.S. Education Department’s “Defense to Repayment” or “Closed School” discharge process are exempt.  These apply to students at Corinthian Colleges and American Career Institutes Inc.
  • Forgiven interest that would have been deductible. For example, interest on a business debt.  You are not required to pay tax on the portion of the debt due to interest, if you could have deducted the interest if you had paid it.  However, if it was interest on a personal credit card- you must pay taxes on all the forgiven debt, including the interest.
  • Cancellation of debt as a gift. If the cancellation of debt is a gift, it is not income.  Generally, the IRS will believe you if you say the debt payoff was a gift between parties such as family members or friends.
  • Business and farm exceptions. You may not have to pay tax on canceled debt if it was in connection with your farm or if the debts were tied to business real estate and were forgiven when you owed more money than the property was worth.

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 of 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/six-exceptions-paying-tax-forgiven-debt-1282.php

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/home-foreclosure-and-debt-cancellation

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

400 Percent Increase in Scams this Tax Season

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

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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.

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The IRS Has Hired a Debt Collector That is Being Sued by The Government

The IRS has hired for-profit debt collectors to collect on long-overdue taxes that the government lacks the resources to work on. Four debt collectors were selected for the new contracts, including one whose parent company is currently being sued by the U.S. government over its student loan debt collection practices.

Pioneer Credit Recovery is a subsidiary of Navient, a student loan debt collector. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against both companies in January claiming that the companies “systematically misled consumers.” A few months prior, Pioneer was selected as one of the IRS debt collection contacts in September, alongside ConServe, Performant and CBE Group.

Pioneer’s parent company Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, holds a federal government contract to service approximately $300 billion in student loans owed by 12 million borrowers.

The IRS was mandated by Congress to hire debt collectors, in language that was inserted into a $205 billion highway funding bill in late 2015. Experts on consumer protection say the new contracts create more potential for bad behavior in debt collection.

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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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

9 Common Tax Errors People Make

Small errors on your tax return can cost you big time. If you want to get your tax refund as quickly as possible and avoid fines, don’t make these nine common errors.

  1. Wrong or Missing Social Security Numbers. All of the tax information that gets reported to the IRS is tied to your Social Security number. As a result, if you provide the wrong number, the IRS will not be able to match up your return with the information that your employer and financial institutions have provided.
  2. Wrong Names. The IRS receives many returns on which people’s names are incorrect. Double check your Social Security card to ensure you are providing your legal name.
  3. Filing Status Errors. Some filing statuses can give additional tax breaks, but it is critical to choose the right one for your particular situation. Often, taxpayers make mistakes in choosing a filing status for which they don’t qualify, such as, head of household for unmarried individuals.
  4. Math Errors. Tax software typically catches math errors; however, if you make a simple data-entry mistake, your numbers will still be off. Double check everything with a calculator to avoid this problem.
  5. Errors in Figuring Credits or Deductions. Some tax breaks are complicated and the IRS says that errors in figuring the earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit and the standard deduction are particularly common. The best way to avoid these errors is to follow instructions carefully in calculating these credits and deductions.
  6. Incorrect Bank Account Numbers. If you use direct deposit to get your refund, make sure you have provided the correct routing number and account number. If you don’t, your refund won’t get processed correctly.
  7. Not signing or dating your tax forms. It is easy to forget one of these key final steps after spending hours or days preparing your return. However, an unsigned tax return is not valid. Also, if you are filing a joint return, both spouses have to sign.
  8. Errors with validating an electronically filed tax return. If you file electronically, you have to select a personal identification number to use to validate your return. Often, taxpayers do not understand the procedure or fail to provide the correct number.
  9. Not Correcting Erroneous Tax Information Forms. If there are errors on your W-2 form from your employer or on your 1099 forms from financial institutions, you should not ignore them. Rather, talk to the reporting party and ask them to correct the error. Otherwise, the IRS will flag a mismatch between what you filed and what the other party filed and it will be up to you to prove you are right.

 

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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

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

5 Last Minute Tax Tips You Need Before Tax Day

Tax filing day is rapidly approaching us on April 18th as countless Americans are scrambling to gather up their paperwork and get their returns in on time. Here are five last minute tips that can reduce what you owe or increase your refund.

  1. Report all of your income. If you try to hide some of your income that you have received throughout the year, you may end up on the IRS audit list. Any time you receive income, whether it’s payment for a freelance job, a dividend check or interest from your bank, you’re required to report that income and pay taxes on it. In fact, you should receive a 1099 form from each issuer that pays you.
  2. Know your tax credits. Tax credits work by reducing your tax liability dollar-for-dollar. For example, a $1,000 tax credit means you get to automatically deduct $1,000 from your tax bill in full. As you prepare to file your return, take some time to read up on the various tax credits out there. For example, there are tax credits geared toward parents, students and low earners that can add up to huge savings.
  3. Don’t estimate your deductions. On the other hand, tax deductions can save you money by excluding a portion of your income from taxes. Some of the deductions that are available to tax filers include: mortgage interest deductions, medical expense deductions and deductions for charitable contributions. However, you need to check your records and make sure your numbers are 100% accurate.
  4. Contribute to last year’s IRA. If you failed to put money into an IRA last year, here’s some good news: it’s not too late! You can make a contribution that counts for the 2016 tax year. In fact, you have until Tax Day, April 18th, to make a contribution to the previous year’s account.
  5. File Electronically. Filing electronically can help to eliminate math errors. If your return contains a major mistake, you could get audited or cause your refund to be delayed. In 2014, the IRS identified almost 2.3 million math errors from the previous year’s returns.

 

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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Timothy Kingcade Posts

IRS Warns Consumers of Tax Refund Phone Scam

Tax time often brings with it a series of scams, and this year is no different.  Thousands of consumers have already received phone calls from scammers trying to take their tax refund money.

“Before there is an arrest warrant issued, I want you or your attorney to give us a call back,” the scam caller says.

Since 2013, scams like this have conned more than 10,000 victims out of $54 million.  Know that the IRS will never call and demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.  The IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. You will also be given the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

REMEMBER: The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. In addition, the IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment, calling the police or other enforcement action.  Being able to recognize these signs of a phishing or tax scam could save you from becoming a victim.

Here is more information on Scams Targeting Taxpayers directly from the IRS website.

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.

Related Resources: http://abc7chicago.com/news/irs-warns-of-major-phone-scam/1730957/

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

What Happens to Tax Debt in Bankruptcy?

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may be wondering if your tax debts can be discharged in bankruptcy court. Although the automatic stay will delay the IRS from contacting you about your debts, there are some taxes that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy court. Here are three basic rules that will tell you if your tax debts are eligible for discharge.

  1. The Three Year Rule. Your tax debts must be three years old from the date they were due, not from the date that you filed. Tax returns are due on April 15th each year. This means that your 2010 taxes are not eligible for discharge until April 15th of 2014. This is because your 2010 taxes were technically due in April 2011. Calculate three years from the time the taxes were due.
  2. Your Tax Returns Must Have Been Filed for Two Years Before Bankruptcy. Taxes must be filed for two years prior to the bankruptcy filing to prevent delinquent taxpayers from filing late returns one day and bankruptcy the next.
  3. The Taxes Must Have Been Assessed More Than 240 Days Ago. The IRS must formally determine that you owe the taxes you are trying to eliminate in bankruptcy more than 240 days before you file the paperwork with the court. Note that an offer in compromise will delay the 240-day rule while it is pending plus an additional 30 days.

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.

Related Resources:

http://www.natlbankruptcy.com/bankruptcy-and-tax-debt-what-happens-to-tax-debt-in-bankruptcy/

http://www.thebankruptcysite.org/resources/bankruptcy/stop-irs-collecting-tax-debts.htm#