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Is A Public-Service Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Plan Right for You?

Overwhelmed With Student Debt? Consider This Public-Service Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Plan

 

Loan Forgiveness

Loan Forgiveness

A Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program has been set up to help public service members, especially physicians. Since many graduates have become overwhelmed with debt recently, this program offers a realistic solution for recent grads to get out of debt. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a program that takes 10 years to complete, and it has many different payment options along the way to help members of the public arena with their student loan debt. If you do qualify for PSLF you can be accepted as early as residency, so you can start gaining control over your student loan debts now.

Your Loan Type May Qualify

There are certain criteria that applicants are judged on when applying for PSLF, and they must meet all criteria in order to qualify for this assistance program. Federal Student Loans accumulated during university and graduate programs are eligible for forgiveness. The loan in question must be federally funded in order to qualify for PSLF. This includes federal funding received through Stafford and Perkins, and there are some other loans that are backed by the federal government.

 

Government agency

Government agency

Qualification Depends on Where You Work

One of the main requirements for PSLF is that the applicant works for a government agency or a non-profit for the entire duration of the program. The government agency who employs you can be at the federal, local or state level. Qualified applicants may also work for a non-profit agency that has 501c3 status, and there are some non-profit agencies qualify without this status. Knowing whether your place of employment is for profit or an eligible nonprofit is vital information used to determine eligibility, and can be helpful when deciding where to work after residency if you plan to remain in the PSLF Program.

Making Payments with the PSLF Program

Making payments is a requirement of the program. If you’re going to stay enrolled in the program then all of your payments for the 10 years must be on-time, for the complete amount, and you must remain employed at a non-profit or government agency. The good news here is that during any training programs you will experience lower monthly payments, for this is meant to make the transitions easier for public service people. As long as you make your payments on time and remain at an eligible place of employment this program could prove to be a helpful path to get your student loans settled.

 

Apply for a loan

Apply for a loan

When to Start Applying for PSLF

Since it takes 10 years to complete the PSLF Program and the government will only forgive your loan if you complete the entire program, you should start applying as soon as possible. You can apply as early as residency or fellowship programs, and if you are accepted to an employer that does not qualify for the program it will not be a problem. For example, let’s say you leave residency to work at a for-profit employer that does not qualify for the program… In this case you surely have your reasons for leaving the program, and there are no fees associated with leaving the program before it ends.

Staying in the Program

In order to stay in the PSLF Program you must make each and every one of the 120 payments on time and the payments must be paid in the full monthly amount. Additionally, you have to submit a form every year to FedLoan Servicing. This form is called an employment certification. It must be submitted yearly or anytime you decide to change jobs.

 

Qualify

Qualify

What Happens After You Qualify

As long as you continue making correct payments on time and stay employed with an eligible employer your loan will be forgiven at the end of the 10 year period. The PSLF Program is new, so the process is still being created and revised. When you make your last payment toward your loan and turn in your application you will receive forgiveness for the remaining balance. In order to better understand the PSLF Program requirements and how this information can benefit you it is best to work alongside a qualified individual who knows how to assist you.

 

Save for tomorrow

Save for tomorrow

Start the Program Today to Save for Tomorrow

The sooner you start the 10 year program the better. Your loan responsibilities will change over time, so it is best to start as early as possible. If you start in residency or fellowship your payments will start off lower, and when your loan is forgiven it will cover more of your costs associated with education. As time progresses you may have more liabilities and assets, so it’s helpful to have guidance for loan and tax purposes.

We’re glad you read our post. Input is always good, so share your opinions. For those managing a doctor’s office, and filing patient claims, JustCMS1500Forms.com is running a special on the cms 1500 form 02/12 at the moment. You’ll find no better provider of the new Cms 1500 form than them. For those of you that file more than average numbers of claims, they offer software for that as well.

Take care, and look out for my next post.

How to Handle Tax Rules Affecting Prize and Award Earnings

Tips for handling Tax Rules That Affect Prize and Award Income

There’s nothing like getting a bit of free money, but in reality, nothing really comes free. Even winners of game shows and reward recipients usually have to put some effort into the prizes they receive. Still after this, however, the money isn’t free since taxes will usually be owed on the winnings.

The most obvious example of this is the winning of a Nobel Prize. Winning this award comes along with a substantial monetary award. When President Barack Obama won the award in 2009, for instance, he received a prize of around $1.4 million to go along with the honor. In most cases this would have resulted in a large tax bill, but the president was able to avoid this.

Avoiding Taxes

Avoiding Taxes

Avoiding Taxes through Donations

In most instances, an award such as the one President Obama received would require taxes to be paid, but IRC Section 74 of the tax code provides exceptions for this. By using the exceptions, President Obama was able to avoid any taxes on his winnings. Those who know what’s necessary to get this exception, though, fully understand why.

–    The prize must be awarded without the recipient having taken any action, such as entering into a contest, in order to win the award.
–    Receiving the award must not subject the winner to the responsibility of performing “substantial future services” in order to receive it. These services even include writing, teaching and other work that a person may already be engaged in.
–    The recipient must designate that the award be given to certain types of charities or governmental organizations at any level.

Malala Yousafzai donation

Malala Yousafzai donation

President Obama met all three of these criteria after donating the full award to charities, and this resulted in no taxes owed. Similarly, Malala Yousafzai donated her $50,000 World’s Children’s Prize towards rebuilding a school that had been destroyed during an armed conflict. While she isn’t an American citizen and thus wouldn’t have owed American taxes, her story is another good example.

Don’t File as Self-Employment Income

Of course, there are other instances when a person may receive these awards and be unable to meet the three aforementioned criteria. After all, someone who isn’t rich may not be in the best situation to just give a cash award away. Similarly, an individual may receive an award based on future services or after entering a contest. Fortunately, there are still methods to avoid huge tax bills.

Self-Employment Income

Self-Employment Income

The mistake some make after winning substantial prizes lies in how they file their taxes. In some cases, they’ll mark their winnings at self-employment taxes. This is an understandable, if not costly, mistake since most individuals aren’t accustomed to the many nuances of the tax code.

The self-employment section, which people run into at Section C of Form 1040, is meant to report continuous income. Those who work on their own as a freelance writer, for instance, would need to report their income here. This is because they write solely to earn some form of income, and even though taxes are often not taken out before payment, the writer must report their earnings.

Someone who wins a monetary award, though, obviously doesn’t make a habit of earning their living through cash prizes. Even Ken Jennings, the longest reigning ‘Jeopardy!’ champ in history, didn’t earn a living through winning prizes from the game show. Sure, he’s won nearly $3.2 million by playing on the game show, but this doesn’t make it self-employment income.

Prize and Award Earnings

Prize and Award Earnings

How to Correctly File Taxes for Prizes and Awards

Since awards and prizes obviously aren’t typical income accrued through self-employment, many are left wondering how they should file their taxes. Some even wonder if they owe taxes on their winnings at all. The answer is yes, but their tax burden will be nowhere near as substantial as someone who has to report on Schedule C.

Looking at the front of Form 1040, there is a space focused on ‘other income.’ It is here, on Line 21 of Form 1040, that those who receive financial benefits from prizes or awards should report their earnings. It’s normal to hear about lottery winners having to pay taxes on their prize, but even individuals who win prizes on game shows aren’t exempt from this necessity.

Cash prizes are treated much like gambling winnings, and the IRS has a page devoted strictly to these winnings. They of course give instructions on filing on Line 21, but they also explain how it’s possible to write off gambling losses for the year.

Monetary Losses

Monetary Losses

Monetary Losses Related to Prizes

For those who receive monetary prizes through events such as lotteries, casinos, raffles and even dog races, there’s an additional way to relieve some of the tax burden they’ll face at the end of the year. In Schedule A of Form 1040, Line 28 allows a person to write off losses related to gambling.

These losses can include money spent on non-winning raffles, lotteries and even bingo games. Keep in mind, though, that these deductions cannot exceed the amount of winnings that a person received in prizes for that year.

In a perfectly happy world, a person would be able to keep all of the money received from prizes and awards granted to them. In reality, though, the taxman will always get what is coming to him. Fortunately, by knowing a few simple rules related to the tax code and awards, a person can avoid an overwhelming tax bill and potentially owe nothing at all.

File tax forms

File tax forms

As a side note, the deadline for filing your business taxes is quickly approaching. Efile 1099 tax forms safely this year by making sure you’re using the right software or internet service provider. With all the data breaches at the large financial firms in this last year, you need to do your homework.  There are a couple noteworthy providers who let you file 1099 online with complete safety. A good benchmark is eFile4Biz.com. They are one of the industry leaders when it comes to online tax filings. They do your efiling for you, including printing and delivering the tax forms to your employees and contractors.  Check out their Youtube video below.  And have a great tax season!!

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