Bankruptcy During Tax Season

While bankruptcies occur year round, timing is everything. Once you have determined you need to file for bankruptcy, consult with local attorneys, especially those whose practice focuses exclusively on bankruptcy. Factors such as assets, upcoming life changes (like marital status), and pending judgments you might have affect when you should file.

As you can see in the table below, people tend to file for bankruptcy predominantly around tax season. These statistics represent the 2014 bankruptcy filings according to the U. S. Courts:

Month in 2014 U.S. Total Filings Business Filings Non-Business Filings
January

70,491

2,233

68,258

February

74,508

2,228

72,208

March

70,491

2,233

68,258

April

90,670

2,563

88,107

May

87,966

2,467

85,499

June

76,223

2,253

73,970

July

79,239

2,218

77,021

August

77,190

2,098

75,092

September

75,312

2,039

73,273

October

81,179

2,295

78,884

November

64,250

1,830

62,420

December

65,161

2,094

63,067

Total

936,795

26,983

909,812

The highest number of total bankruptcy filings in the U. S. for 2014 was in April. In fact, according to Bob Lawless, bankruptcy filings consistently top out in the beginning part of the calendar year. Typically, January and February tend to accumulate at least 15% of the total filings, as is the case here.

Although the reasons could be numerous, let’s take a look at a few possibilities for why the beginning of the year and, in particular, the tax season may garner so much attention:

  • With taxes due April 15, people focus more on their finances and are apt to make significant changes then.
  • People think bankruptcy will lessen their tax burden.
  • Folks feel they can’t be audited if they file for bankruptcy.
  • Some think they can go on a spending spree before April 15, file for bankruptcy, and then owe nothing.
  • They expect a large tax refund and believe they can simply use that to pay toward a bankruptcy.

Wouldn’t it be nice if bankruptcy were that simple? It’s not. That’s why you should contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. Here’s why:

  1. In a bankruptcy, certain debt called priority debt cannot be discharged. Priority debt includes child support, DWI charges, some penalties, plus more.
  2. A bankruptcy does not stop an audit. The IRS gets priority here.
  3. If you go on a spending spree before declaring bankruptcy, that could be construed as intentional fraud.
  4. If you have filed for bankruptcy, you may or may not be able to spend your tax refund.

These are just a few examples where legalities can get tricky. You need to understand there are enough nuances within bankruptcy law that could really cause you problems if you don’t know what you are doing.

When to file tax returns regarding bankruptcy has its own issues. One thing that is certain is you cannot discharge taxes that haven’t been filed in the first place. For specific advice, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. We serve mankato, MN and the surrounding areas, including Marshall, Worthington, Owatonna, New Ulm, St. Peter, Redwood Falls, Waseca, and Fairmont.

One good thing to keep in mind is that discharged debt doesn’t really affect taxes because it isn’t considered to be taxable income.

This April 15, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, make sure you have the facts. It may not be in your best interest to file now. Any important financial change deserves careful thought. For further advice, contact your local bankruptcy attorney.

Are Student Loans Discharged When Filing Bankrutpcy in Minnesota?

Everyone knows the cost of higher education has increased dramatically. Students grumble about the cost of their student loans, and rightfully so. According to Bloomberg, college costs have soared over 500% since 1985. Who wants to be in debt before they even start their first job? No wonder students might seek ways to erase this debt, even if it entails bankruptcy. The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd., want you to know that normally, student loans are not discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.

However, 11 U.S.C. sec. 523(a)(8) notes two exceptions to this rule:

1. The student loan cannot be affiliated with a governmental unit or nonprofit entity. This means if a governmental unit insures, guarantees, or funds the student loan in any way, the loan cannot be discharged.

2. If the student, or debtor, incurs an undue hardship in order to pay the loan, it’s possible the student loan could be discharged.

Before October 1998, student loans could be discharged according to certain circumstances, provided the loan was over seven years old. That stipulation no longer applies for loans after October 1998.

Meeting an exception doesn’t automatically mean a student loan can be discharged. The court weighs all factors of each case before making a decision on what is considered dischargeable debt.

Before you incur any student loan debt, you should think very carefully about your academic interests and your possible career objectives. Student loan debt can pile up quickly. It is understandable and common that people must take more than four years to complete a degree. However, if you change course of study too many times, you could find yourself under oppressive student loan debt after you graduate. Education is important, of course, but you might want to explore more affordable options if your first choice in schools would break your piggy bank.

It wouldn’t hurt to make sure you major in a viable field that can generate sufficient income to pay for your living expenses as well as your debt. Finances can bring a real-world mentality to those ideals of simply following your whims. Sometimes, you either have to be creative in developing a job for yourself or you have to just accept an available position until you can afford to leap to something you would enjoy more.As stated, the court views several factors in student loan bankruptcy cases. If you want to explore your options in Mankato, Minnesota, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd. We restrict our practice to only bankruptcy.  You can expect the best from us.

What Happens to My Tax Debt When I File For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Mankato, MN?

Behm Law Group provides bankruptcy consultation and advice for Mankato-area residents.

The word “bankruptcy” creates visions of having no money and no way out. There is more than one type of bankruptcy, however. If you are contemplating bankruptcy and want to know which course you should take, contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows Mankato residents to set up a payment plan whereby some dischargeable debt may be discharged at the completion of that plan. In the case of tax debt, under Chapter 13, the entire tax debt has to be paid off within 60 months. However, you would not incur penalties or interest on that tax debt.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd would like you to plan ahead for tax season. You should be putting together your receipts and other paperwork to prepare for 2014 taxes. Rather than wait until the last minute, Mankato, MN, why not start saving the money you expect to pay for taxes. If you are coming up short to the point bankruptcy is a possibility, give Behm Law Group, Ltd a call.

Taxes never go away. If allowed to accumulate, the tax debt you owe can appear insurmountable. It’s a fact that inaction, when dealing with a problem, can lead to negative reaction or continued non-action, neither of which will solve your money issues. Add forward momentum by taking that first step in Mankato, Minnesota. Contact the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd .

Knowledge is power. Instead of guessing or imagining all possible scenarios, just find out the facts. Maybe bankruptcy wouldn’t be best for you. We’ll let you know that, too.

If Chapter 13 bankruptcy fits your situation, Mankato, then the next step is to form a plan to pay off any tax debt as well as other non-dischargeable debt. Every situation is different. Behm Law Group, Ltd’s attorneys can definitely help you. We will clarify the bankruptcy laws for you, so you understand exactly how you are affected and what you can do about it.

Just think, positive forward momentum leads to freedom of debt. You will have an opportunity to start fresh, create a budget, and stick to it. Soon, living within your means will become a habit.

Mankato, Minnesota, the bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group, Ltd are ready to serve you when you need help. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!

The Affordable Care Act and Bankruptcy

Behm Law Group explains the connections between Mankato, MN bankruptcy filings and the Affordable Care Act

As controversial as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been over the last, well, forever, it does try to address the growing need in this country for access to affordable healthcare.

Regrettably, the focus ended up being on health insurance rather than the skyrocketing costs of healthcare itself. So now here we are, arguing about whether people should be forced to pay a tax for something they may not want or need to use for years.

However, there’s still an underlying truth about healthcare in America, and it’s something that seems strangely neglected in all the reporting and opining about the ACA.

Namely, medical costs account for one of the most, if not THE most common reasons for bankruptcy filings in America today. Even under the best of circumstances or the most mundane of medical costs, the price tag can be staggering. In instances of serious emergency care, those costs can be absolutely ruinous.

Regrettably, these ruinous costs can be racked up even if somebody has some form of insurance, because not all insurance is alike. More affordable insurance plans, for example, can carry with them deductibles that are just plain impossible for some lower and even middle class families to meet. Even though they technically carry insurance, it’s insurance in name only.

This is one of the cited flaws of the ACA: while it mandates that all Americans must be insured—and even though there are many subsidies available—medical costs are still high enough that even those with insurance (which is to say EVERYONE), may not be able to meet the responsibilities of both their monthly premiums AND an eventual deductible in the event of a catastrophic injury or illness.

Time will tell if the kinks in the ACA will eventually be ironed out or the law is simply allowed to limp along in its current imperfect form. One thing seems certain though: bankruptcy filings due to medical costs is almost guaranteed to be a reality for thousands of Americans annually.

Behm Law Group, Ltd. has expertise in all aspects of personal bankruptcy law, including bankruptcy arising due to medical costs. We understand that bankruptcy is unavoidable in certain instances and we’ll help you navigate the law so you can focus on what’s important: you and your loved ones.

Our bankruptcy law professionals dutifully serve the residents of Mankato, MN and the surrounding communities, and all of Southern MN and we stand ready to assist you to navigate your unique bankruptcy situation. Give Behm Law Group, Ltd. a call today.

If Detroit Can Do It, So Can You | Mankato, MN Bankruptcy

Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides bankruptcy attorneys in Mankato, MN and surrounding areas

Late in May, the City of Detroit made the case for its bankruptcy restructuring plan via a court filing, an event made all the more surreal since Detroit is the only United States city to ever file for bankruptcy protection. As bankruptcy law goes, it doesn’t get much bigger, or unusual, than this.

Just consider that the city argued it has the legal justification to transfer ownership of the Detroit Institute of Arts to a third-party non-profit organization. That’s right; a city is in jeopardy of losing a museum due to bankruptcy. Most individuals have to worry about losing a vehicle through bankruptcy, but the City of Detroit is trying to figure out a way to keep its museum intact. Talk about pressure.

Or, consider that the City of Detroit has been arguing that its pension annuity payments are “excessive” and those excessive pension distributions are tantamount to a Ponzi scheme. It takes a certain astonishing level of systemic financial mismanagement to refer to your city’s own pension system as a Ponzi scheme.

Not surprisingly, the City of Detroit is facing considerable pushback as it makes its legal case for the justifications surrounding its bankruptcy filing, but it should prove fascinating to watch as it unfolds.

Thankfully, individual bankruptcy filings don’t entail nearly the same seemingly impossible legal hurdles the City of Detroit faces, although individual bankruptcies can be incredibly daunting in their own right.

While chances are you won’t be trying to save your own personal museum from being liquidated to appease creditors, you will want to protect some of the most personally meaningful items and property, and that’s incredibly important to you.

Behm Law Group  understands how stressful individual bankruptcy can be, and we’ll work to ensure your bankruptcy journey is as smooth and efficient as the law allows. Our professional and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys have helped countless clients just like you to navigate the incredibly confusing bankruptcy landscape.

You don’t have to, and shouldn’t, go through a bankruptcy ordeal on your own. If you reside in Mankato, MN or anywhere in Southern Minnesota, and you require bankruptcy guidance, contact Behm Law Group today. We’ll be alongside you every step of the way to successfully guide you through this complicated process.

And, if you do happen to have a museum you’d like to hold on to, we’ll see what we can do about that, too.

How Natural Disasters Influence Bankruptcy Claims in Mankato, MN

Filing for Bankruptcy in Minnesota | Tips from Behm Law Group, Ltd.

Since Hurricane Katrina, there have been changes and adjustments to bankruptcy laws. This is especially important for people that have been the victim of a natural disaster and lost all of their possessions and potentially their income. With the recent tornadoes and weather events in the South, Behm Law Group, Ltd. wanted to revisit the nuances of bankruptcy for disaster victims.

When an enormous weather event, such as Hurricane Katrina, strikes, the government may relax some of the laws associated with bankruptcy. In the instance of Katrina, the strict rules of Chapter 7 bankruptcy were relaxed to take into account the increased expenses and loss of property and income that disaster victims and their families experienced. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for debts to be completely erased. If the looser rules were not put into place after such large events, some families with higher income than the state’s median may have to repay their debt over a five year period.

Of course, these exceptions are due to extreme cases, like natural disasters and other events that impact an entire geographic area. It is still applicable to residents of Minnesota that sometimes experience tornadoes and flooding statewide.

To help you navigate the intricacies of bankruptcy law, call Behm Law Group, Ltd, your local bankruptcy attorneys based in Mankato, Minnesota. Filing for bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is never an easy decision, and it certainly isn’t a simple process. We are here to help you through the hardest times in your life, whether they are naturally occurring or caused by a natural disaster.

Coming to Terms with Personal Bankruptcy

Behm Law Bankruptcy Law Firm in Mankato, MN

Bankruptcy is a difficult decision to come to terms with. Bankruptcy carries a stigma that permeates our culture, and this is particularly true when it comes to personal bankruptcy.

Whereas business bankruptcy is almost considered an expected risk that could very well come to pass—although it’s still best to be avoided—personal bankruptcy is usually accompanied by a deep feeling of personal failure.

It shouldn’t be that way.

While bankruptcy isn’t something people should aspire to, it’s far more common than most people think. Just in 2013, for example, a combined total of 1.03 million businesses and individuals filed for bankruptcy.

In an economy that’s been charitably referred to as “recovering” since 2009, bankruptcy is a specter that continues to hang over the heads of people and businesses that manage to barely squeak by month to month. And bankruptcy is nothing to be ashamed of.

In fact, personal bankruptcy can be seen as a way to start over, even though starting over after bankruptcy can be, admittedly, difficult. There’s a reason it’s typically referred to as “bankruptcy protection.”

However, bankruptcy—for individuals or businesses—can be made far less difficult if the bankruptcy details are handled by an informed, knowledgeable and professional third party. Behm Law Group Ltd. possesses exactly the professional third party bankruptcy protection experts you can count on to navigate your unique bankruptcy situation, and each situation is almost always unique.

Bankruptcy filing can be stressful even in the best of circumstances, and the best bankruptcy circumstances aren’t all that great to begin with. Being able to rely on bankruptcy attorneys who have vast experience with bankruptcy protection can drastically reduce the stresses and heartache that all-too-often are associated with bankruptcy filing.

If you’re in Mankato, MN, or any of the surrounding communities or anywhere in Southern Minnesota, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. right away and start your journey through bankruptcy protection with a team of experienced and seasoned professionals at your side.

 

Beware Fraudulent Transfers | Bankruptcy Law Tips

Minnesota Bankruptcy Lawyers at Behm Law Group Ltd.

If you wish to keep your friends and family members in your good graces, don’t attempt to transfer property to them if you anticipate filing for bankruptcy within the next two years and they don’t pay you a reasonable market value for the property. Embarking on such a path may be considered fraudulent and could result in your friends or relatives being sued to give up that undervalued property. They’d be out whatever money they paid you plus the property they thought was theirs.

According to 11 U.S.C. Sec. 548, a bankruptcy trustee can sue individuals who purchased property, such as a vehicle, from the debtor who received substantially less than equivalent return value. Therefore, if a debtor sold a vehicle or similar property worth, say, $15,000, to a friend or family member, but only received $3,000 in compensation, and that transfer took place within two years before the debtor filed bankruptcy, the trustee could sue to reclaim that property in order to sell it for a more accurate market value. The trustee would then take that increased capital and distribute it evenly among the debtor’s affected creditors.

To avoid this potentially embarrassing fraudulent transfer situation, make sure you enter into financial agreements with friends or relatives by asking for a reasonable market value. This is especially important if you’re selling property when you’re under extreme financial duress that could lead to a bankruptcy filing in the near future.

The Bankruptcy Code can be extremely difficult to understand, especially when delving into the more arcane language and clauses that are best left to bankruptcy law professionals. Behm Law Group Ltd. serves Mankato, MN, and surrounding communities, and our bankruptcy expertise is at your disposal to help you successfully emerge from the stressful experience of filing for bankruptcy protection.

To better navigate this somewhat obscure bankruptcy side road, our professional team of bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group Ltd. is available to assist and advise you. Contact Behm Law Group Ltd. today and begin your personal journey out of debt.

Minnesota Bankruptcy Advice- Are Student Loans Eligible for Discharge?

Tips from Minnesota Bankruptcy Attorneys- Behm Law Group

Student loans are generally understood to be “exempt” when it comes to bankruptcy protection. If you have student loans, you are required to pay them back in full, and the federal government has put rules into place to ensure that debt is collected. There are provisions that can help ease student loan debt, but the burden of proof is on you to prove you are in a position that makes it practically impossible for your to pay your loan. Filing for bankruptcy in Minnesota is a viable option. The Minnesota bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group offer advice on how to navigate these tricky waters.

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Student loan debt is a huge concern nationwide. As college tuition continues to skyrocket, hundreds of thousands of graduates and perhaps their parents are saddled with debilitating student loan debt that can equal or exceed the price of most starter home mortgages. Private and federal student loan debt exceeded credit card debt in 2010, hit the $1 trillion mark in 2011, and as of this year stands at $1.2 trillion dollars. Meanwhile the economy is struggling to regain past employment levels and starting wages are generally lower, leaving college graduates with burdensome debt and little opportunity to get back on track.

Up until 1976 all education loans could be discharged through bankruptcy. That year the bankruptcy code was changed which disallowed college or government loans to be discharged during the first five years of repayment. After five years of payment the loans could be discharged though bankruptcy or if “undue hardship” was being experienced by the borrower. In 2005 Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act which gave further protections to student loans, both federal and private, from bankruptcy protection.  The only “door” left open for bankruptcy protection was if the borrower could demonstrate to the court that repayment of the student loan would cause an “undue hardship.”

Undue hardship can be exceptionally difficult to prove. Just the simple fact that you don’t have the funds available to pay your loan generally does not qualify as undue hardship.

Navigating through this complicated legal landscape is something best left to a professional bankruptcy attorney. Though full bankruptcy protection is still far from an attainable goal regarding most student loan debt, legal avenues do exist for at least a partial discharge of the overall debilitating debt burden that’s all too common for today’s college graduates.

Behm Law Group, Ltd. employs a professional team of bankruptcy attorneys who can help you through the daunting legal world of bankruptcy protection. With our years of dedicated training in the field of bankruptcy we can advise you about your student loan debt options and whether or not you meet the demanding criteria for having your student loans discharged through bankruptcy.

Serving Mankato, MN, and surrounding areas, Behm Law Group, Ltd. is available to help clients maneuver their way through financial difficulty and avoid the stress and uncertainty of unnecessary, burdensome debt. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. to discuss your bankruptcy options.

They Are Not on Your Side- Credit Cards Can Lead to Bankruptcy

Considering bankruptcy in Minnesota? Behm Law can help.

Commercials for big credit card companies make it look and sound like their only intent is provide you with an easy alternative to cash or checks to help all your “wants and needs” come true. The commercials show happy people buying bag-loads of goods at high-end stores, retiring to a beach-front home, or treating friends to an expensive dinner at a pricey restaurant. But are they really on your side? Are they really there to help you make your dreams come true? A look at their net incomes give you a glimpse of what they’re really out to do, and who truly benefits from their services.
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One recognizable company, Capital One, which gets half of its income from credit cards, reported a $1.1 billion net income for third quarter, 2013. Think about that—$1.1 billion in one quarter. The biggest credit-card issuer, American Express, reported a $1.37 billion net income for third quarter, 2013. Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. home lender, reported a third quarter net income of $5.58 billion. One thing is certain; these companies can’t achieve net incomes in the billions of dollars each quarter by giving money away. They make their exorbitant profits by charging high interest rate
s, massive late fees, and ridiculous overdraft fees. In other words, they lure you with friendly promises of luxury and convenience, and then snag you with highly predatory interest rates and insurmountable fees and penalties.

Credit card companies love to advertise “easy, affordable” credit. But, when times get tough and you’re financially struggling, they can make resolving your financial hardships unbearable and hopelessly unaffordable. Have you been entrapped by the large credit card companies? Is your income being sapped by high-interest payments? Are you over your head in debt? If so, do everything you can to get out of their snare. Your financial future depends on it. But if you are in so much financial trouble you cannot escape on your own, bankruptcy might be your only option. To see if bankruptcy is the right solution for you, call the personal bankruptcy attorneys at Behm Law Group Ltd. Unlike the big credit card companies, we really are there for you.