Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Debt Settlement and Tax Implications

If you are one of many Americans whose debt burden has grown unmanageable, you understand the tremendous stress that this situation causes. You know that in addition to weighing down your mind it is weighing down your credit score which is going to make credit issues even more difficult to resolve. Many debtors' situation becomes so grave they must file for bankruptcy or just give up and default on their bills, totally destroying their credit worthiness.

Rather than these options, that can affect credit ratings for years, you may consider some tactics that have gained considerable popularity amount those struggling to get out from under the load: consolidating debts or making debt settlement offers. The two options are extremely different and you must research them thoroughly to determine which would best suit your situation.

Advantages of Using Debt Settlement Options

When a debtor offers to settle a debt, they apply to the creditor to immediately forgive all or part of the debt in consideration of the fact that you are totally unable to repay any or all of it. If you could unload all or part of a debt, that might be the one little bit of help needed to get you by so you can make all your payments. You can start paying down other debts, and each month your debt load and monthly payments will become a little more manageable. That dark cloud hanging over you will start to lift.

Dangers of Debt Settlement

The debt settlement offer, if accepted by the creditor, is going to be noted in your credit history, and may impact the credit score. All credit bureaus will have the information which will be available to any organization that checks credit scores, which nowadays can include potential employers. It will also reduce your credit score for awhile, although not as severely as a bankruptcy or defaulting. You can eventually overcome the effect by handling your credit carefully.

Another consideration that you must carefully consider if going for the settlement option is the debt settlement tax implications. If your creditor forgives over a certain amount of debt (usually around $600) the Internal Revenue Service treats the entire amount forgiven as a form of income that you must report on your tax return. Depending on your total taxable income, you may incur an unpleasant tax liability on the debt amount forgiven. Depending on the amount of the debt and the amount of tax, the benefits may outweigh the costs; to know for sure you need to understand how your individual tax liability may change.

When researching your debt resolution options you may encounter companies that, for a fee, will handle your requests for compromise settlements to your creditors. These companies charge a fee, and the fees may be more than you can really afford for the amount of benefit you will receive. Be sure you understand the ramifications of your decisions before making your moves. Before any final decision about using the settlement strategy, you should investigate consolidating your debts.

For more information please visit www.2009taxes.org. Good luck!

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