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Michael D. Hart, P.C.
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540-627-6520
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What to know about credit card balance forgiveness

When a Virginia debtor has a credit card balance forgiven, they aren't always totally in the clear. In some cases, only a portion of the balance is forgiven. Furthermore, it is possible that the forgiven debt could be treated as income by the IRS. This would make it necessary to pay taxes on that amount. How flexible a creditor is about repaying a credit card balance depends on who holds the debt.

If a credit card company holds the debt, one could work out a new payment plan. It may also be possible to pay no interest for a period of several months as opposed to getting a balance reduced or forgiven entirely. As a general rule, contacting the credit card company sooner rather than later may limit the damage done to a credit score.

If a debt collector holds the debt, that party may be open to negotiating a settlement. This could be done by making a lump sum payment or installment payments for less than what the current balance is. However, it is important to get an agreement in writing prior to making any payments. Regardless of who the current creditor is, one could eliminate credit card debt by filing for bankruptcy.

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may make it possible to retain property while repaying credit card or other debts. In such a case, a person has three or five years to pay off existing debt according to a repayment plan. During this time, creditors generally can't contact a debtor about an unpaid balance. Furthermore, debtors may be allowed to negotiate new loan terms, which may prevent a foreclosure or other actions after the bankruptcy case comes to a close.

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Michael D. Hart, P.C.
19 Church Street Southwest
Roanoke, VA 24011

Phone: 540-627-6520
Fax: 540-342-7655
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