Merna Law https://mernalaw.com Bankruptcy: Rebuild Your Credit, Start Fresh Sun, 17 Feb 2019 00:04:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 https://i1.wp.com/mernalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2012_MLG_logo_icon_blue_vectorized1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Merna Law https://mernalaw.com 32 32 57809781 Baby Boomers & Bankruptcy: Make Your Retirement Better. https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/02/27/baby-boomers-bankruptcy-make-retirement-better/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=baby-boomers-bankruptcy-make-retirement-better https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/02/27/baby-boomers-bankruptcy-make-retirement-better/#respond Mon, 27 Feb 2017 16:55:29 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8693
by John G. Merna

A Lack of Retirement Savings Forces Many to Take Action

With over 75 million baby boomers in or approaching retirement, the disappearance of corporate retirement, failure of 401(k) plans to deliver great returns, and the recent Great Recession have left most unprepared to afford retirement. Baby boomers have acquired more debt while saving less than previous generations, which threatens their hope of maintaining their lifestyle in retirement.

For many, the smart answer is to look at removing the debt they have dragged into or towards retirement to free up cash to help afford a comfortable retirement. According to the Wall Street Journal and the Employee Benefit Research Institute, “People in the U.S. ages 65 to 74 hold more than five time the borrowing obligations Americans their age held two decades ago.” While at the same time the median savings for people nearing retirement has dropped 32 percent, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The recent “Great Recession” contributed to families losing jobs, facing pay cuts, and seeing much of their wealth in real estate evaporate. Now with potential government changes to both Medicare and private insurance, retirees face looming increase in medical costs.

Solutions

So what are some solutions? The first and most obvious is to stop the leaking or hemorrhaging of money on debt, primarily unsecured debt. Many baby boomers are mistakenly frightened of the concept of bankruptcy mostly out of ignorance of how it can help. In reality, debt burdened retirees use less or no credit and therefore have little to lose if faced with the temporary effect of having to go through credit recovery.

On the other hand, they stand to gain an enormous amount of income. Freeing up the monthly financial payments used towards unsecured debt can save most thousands of dollars per year and tens of thousands of dollars in retirement, you if not more. Bankruptcy is a great tool to help improve your prospects in retirement. Ask our current president. It is also easy to find out if a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will work for you with a simple call to our office at 800-662-8813 to speak for free, confidentially, and without obligation to an attorney to discuss options.

While eliminating your debt in bankruptcy and freeing up the money spent on credit cards, personal loans, payday loans, medical bills, and other obligation can assist in improving your retirement cash flow, many need a little more. The other side of the “”reducing expenses” equation is “increasing income”. Many retiree have embraced a second career, usually part-time, not just to have the additional income to supplement social security benefits but also the added advantage of having the stimulation and socializing that comes as a byproduct of work.

For those of your in retirement or facing the specter of not being able to afford to retire give us a call for a free, confidential, no obligation consultation about how to help relieve the stress and anxiety of your debt by calling tel:800-662-8813. We look forward to helping you be one step closer to a comfortable retirement because you have earned it.

Keywords:

Baby boomers, bankruptcy, social security, chapter 7, chapter 13

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February Is “Fresh Start” Month. https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/01/29/bankruptcy-fresh-start/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bankruptcy-fresh-start https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/01/29/bankruptcy-fresh-start/#respond Sun, 29 Jan 2017 10:33:32 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8198

 

by John G. Merna

February is fresh start month. Why you might ask?

Most people live paycheck to paycheck to. And the question on most people’s mind is almost constantly how do I get ahead financially? If you are plagued with bad credit or unpaid debt this question is even more perplexing.

February is fresh start months for many reasons.

The first reason and an important one is that it’s beginning of the year. You have had the month of January to determine whether your New Year’s resolutions are going to pan out. Everybody has a lot of high hopes but the reality of committing long term to a result often makes those high hopes fade. So February is a good time to refocus on your financials and determine to get a fresh start. The second reason that February is fresh start month is because a lot of families get large tax refunds this month. Tax refunds are one of the largest surges of cash that most families receive throughout the year. The decision that these refund receivers are faced with is should they use the refund money to pay their delinquent or overwhelming debt or should they use it for some other necessity.  The inclination is to throw tax refund money at your bad unpaid debt to get yourself out of the hole. The real question you should be asking is whether paying debt, when you already have bad credit, is going to solve the problem?

Fresh Start Month is really about determining what is the best plan for getting ahead financially.

Here are a few things you should analyze:

  1. Are you behind on your debt?
  2. Is your credit score already bad?
  3. Will the tax money pay a significant amount of your debt?
  4. Can you pay off the remaining debt in a reasonable amount of time without further damaging your credit?
  5. Are you still vulnerable to other problems even if you put the money towards the debts like judgments, liens, garnishments, etc?

As many of you know from examples in your life, sometimes it is better to take a step back in order to move forward. This is also true when dealing with financial issues.

If your financial/credit situation is irreparably damaged, often it is better to keep the tax refund money and consider using part of it to file bankruptcy to eliminate the debt and put you in a position to rebuild your credit score as quickly as possible.

Somethings that most people don’t realize is a bankruptcy filing has a minimal effect on your credit.

As I like to tell clients, “The bankruptcy filing is like the period at the end of a long sentence that is your bad credit.” It stops the continued negative reporting to permit your score to start recovering and has about as much effect on your credit score as that period.

There are other blogs on our website that go into more about the true effect of bankruptcy on your credit score and you should also check out our credit recovery program.

So to review, you assess whether it’s better for you to take a step backwards to consider the big picture of your finances, such as filing whether to file bankruptcy, by looking at three area:

  • Credit: Is it good or bad already?
    • The lower the credit score greater I would favor of the bankruptcy.

 

  • Do I have a feasible plan to get out of debt in a reasonable amount of time?
    • If you are just throwing your tax money down the bad debt “well” or is the money is going to help your debt situation no more than a drop of water is going to help a camel in the Sahara, I would look into bankruptcy.

 

  • Do you have disposable income every month? Will paying the debt limit your future?
    • People tend to forget what they are giving up when they are attempting to pay their bad debt. They are generally not contributing to retirement plans, don’t have college savings, sometimes don’t even have medical insurance. When your credit is bad, it is not worth thousands of dollars to save it. Think about it. What do you have after you pay off bad debt? Bad credit. And you still need to go through several years to build it.

 

Most people live paycheck to paycheck and have little or no disposable income after paying household expenses. Let’s say you have $300 left over each month to service your debt. And you have $20,000 of revolving credit card debt. A straight division of 20,000 x 300 show you it takes you almost 5 1/2 years to pay that off the $20,000 if they charged zero percent interest. Unfortunately, interest rates on credit cards are very high. In reality, it would take you closer to 10 years to pay off the debt with the high interest you are being charged and you would pay closer to twice the amount. So what can $40,000 do for you? You can pay for a car or two. You can pay a lot of college expenses. You can sleep better at night by not stressing about the bills. So take advantage of February is fresh start month and think about your financial situation before your throw that valuable tax refund down the toilet of bad debt.

This is John Merna wishing you a happy Fresh Start February and a prosperous future.

 

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6 Things Not To Do With Your Tax Refund Prior To Filing Bankruptcy https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/01/26/6-things-not-to-do-with-your-tax-refund-prior-to-filing-bankruptcy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-things-not-to-do-with-your-tax-refund-prior-to-filing-bankruptcy https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/01/26/6-things-not-to-do-with-your-tax-refund-prior-to-filing-bankruptcy/#respond Fri, 27 Jan 2017 04:58:19 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8205

by John G. Merna

The most difficult problems created by a client anticipating filing bankruptcy are generally created before they consult an attorney or undertaken without advising an attorney.

1) Don’t Hide Money

Most people don’t understand or intend to break the law.  But hiding money in bankruptcy, or more accurately “not disclosing” money, is a violation of federal law and perjury. Among other possible penalties, prison is the big one. If I had a dollar for every time a client asked me “but what if they don’t know about it” I would be a rich man.

The reality is that 99% of the cases where clients are concerned about their savings or money… the money can be protected without committing perjury. The vast majority of Chapter 7 cases are what are called “no-asset“ cases. This means the bankruptcy trustee is unable to get any property, let alone money, from the  debtor.
The small percentage of “asset” cases , or people that turn over property to the trustee, are generally people who knew in advance from their attorney this would occur and did so intentionally because the value of eliminating their debt was far greater then the money.  Everyone else who lost tax refunds in bankruptcy were caught off guard because they did not use an attorney and could probably have protected the money. If you’re concerned at all about any assets ask your attorney and he will guide you.

2) Don’t Pay Back Relatives…Just Yet.

After 20 years of practicing bankruptcy I’ve learned that people believe that moral obligations supersede legal requirements. Yes, it is important that you maintain your obligations moral or otherwise. However, in the context of the bankruptcy, if you are paying back a relative instead of paying your other debt it will be a problem. It is called “preferential treatment to an insider”.

Do not pay your relatives back with your tax refund it leaves them vulnerable to having the money taken by the bankruptcy trustee. Any payment to a insider, which is a relative or close associate, is potentially a form of fraudulent transfer. Most contracts with relatives are not in writing. So you have several problems with regards to paying back relatives on the eve of filing bankruptcy.

Most people would choose to pay their relative instead of paying their debt. Don’t do it. You don’t have to. Generally, you can protect the money and pay your relative back later. However, if you do it before you file your bankruptcy you complicate your whole process and you put the relative in a position to possibly having to return the money to the trustee. Consult a bankruptcy attorney. The attorney can tell you how to navigate and protect the money that you were going to use to pay back the relative.

3) Don’t Pay Any Unsecured Creditor Over $600 Shortly Before Filing.

Often before filing, debtors assume paying off small creditors will somehow benefit them by making their credit look better. In a bankruptcy you are required to disclose any payments greater than $600 made in the 90 days prior to filing. Those payments can be recaptured or retrieved by the trustee. It’s not to your benefit to be paying off unsecured creditor. The money is wasted.  The debt would be wiped out.  And you are likely to see the trustee recover this money to pay your debt. When in doubt about any decision to pay a creditor on the eve of bankruptcy consult your bankruptcy attorney.

4) Don’t Let Uncle Sam Hold On To Your Large Refund Until After Filing.

Generally, it is not a good idea to let Uncle Sam hold onto your tax refund if it’s a large one . If are anticipating a large refund it will need to be protected in your bankruptcy. If the refund is too large in Virginia you may not have enough protection for the refund. To avoid losing all or part of it you can wait until you receive it and spend the unprotected portion on “reasonable and necessary” expenses. There are protections now in place as of 2015 that protect the earned income credit (EIC) portion of your tax refund. However, many people receive large non-EIC refunds. When in doubt, talk to your attorney.

5) Don’t Buy Luxury Goods Or Vacations On The Eve Of Bankruptcy.

Tax refunds are probably the largest infusion of money most people received during the year. Most people use their refund to pay off some debt, make needed repairs, or take long put off vacations. One problem you have is the purchase of any luxury goods and or luxury vacations. Just to be clear visiting mom is not a luxury vacation. She may do your wash. She may feed you but still it’s not a luxury vacation. Hold off on splurging in general is you are about to file bankruptcy.

6) Transferring property to “protect it”.

A common misconception is that if property is not in your name, it is untouchable by the bankruptcy court. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Giving property to Mom does not protect it. Giving property to uncle Bud does not protect it. Giving property to your friend for no money is not a bonafide transfer for value. Consult your attorney. Remember. You paid the attorney to guide you. Get your money’s worth.

It goes without saying you should retain an attorney as soon as you are considering bankruptcy. He can direct you through the process of filing your taxes, what to do with any refund, what property is protected or not, who to pay and who to not, and much more. A good bankruptcy attorney is attorney is worth his/her weight in gold. Don’t be dumb. Get one soon.

Give us a call at 800-662-8813.

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IRS To Delay Some Tax Refunds This Year! https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/01/23/irs-delay-tax-refunds-year/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=irs-delay-tax-refunds-year https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/01/23/irs-delay-tax-refunds-year/#respond Mon, 23 Jan 2017 15:50:35 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8616

 by John G. Merna
Tax filers who anticipate claiming Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) can anticipate their refund being held up until the end of February.

The IRS announced that they will be implementing a more strenuous review to detect tax credit fraud and the additional delay will provide the agency more time for these reviews.

While they announce the delay will only be until February 15th it is unlikely that the refunds will hit taxpayers account via electronic deposit until the week of February 27th.

Taxpayers using online tax software may begin preparing their returns immediately, however, the software companies will not submit them to the IRS until January 23rd.

For individuals planning to use their tax refund to improve their financial and credit future by availing themselves of a bankruptcy fresh start and wish to move quickly they should get their documents to their bankruptcy attorney by the end of February.

For more information on the IRS refund plans visit www.IRS.gov.

If you are considering filing a bankruptcy give us a call for a free consultation even before you receive your refund.  Protecting your refund is also important and we want to make sure we start on that early.  Call us today at Tel:800-662-8813.

 

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Is Your Tax Refund Safe From Garnishment? https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/01/13/is-your-tax-refund-safe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=is-your-tax-refund-safe https://mernalaw.com/blog/2017/01/13/is-your-tax-refund-safe/#respond Fri, 13 Jan 2017 18:54:27 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8153 Protect Your Tax Refund, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Richmond, Chesterfieldby John G. Merna

Tax time can be exciting if you anticipate receiving a tax refund. For some, the anticipation can turn to anxiety if they are significantly behind on paying their debt.
There are two ways a creditor can intercept your tax refund. The first is by getting it from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) before your receive it. The second is to garnish the bank account you deposit or hold it in.
The general rule is federal law only let state or federal government agencies intercept your tax refund. Private creditors or individuals you owe money to cannot get your refund from the government.

WHO CAN INTERCEPT MY TAX REFUND?

The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) allows federal government agencies to collect outstanding debt by intercepting you tax refund to pay the debt. State agencies can also offset to pay past-due court-ordered child support payments and other debt owed to state agencies.

Who can take my tax refund directly from the IRS?
• IRS
• Debt owed to federal agencies.
• Outstanding court-ordered child support
• Over-payment of federal benefits including social security
• Over-payment of unemployment benefits
• Student loan debt
• Debt owed to state government agencies

WHO CAN TAKE MY TAX REFUND FROM MY BANK ACCOUNT?

As I said, private creditors and collection agencies are not able to go to the IRS and have them turnover our tax refund. However, once your refund is paid to you and deposited in your bank account either electronically or manually, the money can be garnished. The creditor will take the full amount owed. In order for a creditor to be able to garnish your tax refund from your bank account they must have first sued you and obtained a judgment.
If you have unpaid debt and have moved recently, you need to be careful. If you were sued and the notice or service did not find you because of the move there might be a judgment out there. You can check the court website in the cities or counties you lived in.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Check with a bankruptcy attorney to see if your outstanding debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. If you file your bankruptcy before you file your tax return you can possibly eliminate the debt and protect your refund. The other option is to request your refund by check and take precautions when cashing it.
If you’re concerned about someone taking your tax refund it may be a sign you need to take to a bankruptcy attorney. Many people try to use their tax refund to plug the dike of bad debt only to end up using a bankruptcy to rebuild their credit. Wouldn’t you rather keep your refund and used the bankruptcy to rebuild your credit?

 

Visit us on Merna Law Google+

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Can Bankruptcy Wipe Out Toll Debt? https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/12/11/can-bankruptcy-wipe-toll-debt/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=can-bankruptcy-wipe-toll-debt https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/12/11/can-bankruptcy-wipe-toll-debt/#respond Sun, 11 Dec 2016 21:26:05 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8535 Eliminate Toll Debt In Bankruptcy. Richmond, Chesterfield, Newport News, Virginia BeachBy John G. Merna

Highway Robbery: Toll Collection Out Of Control

When a few dollars in toll charges can rocket to $1,000’s of dollars Virginian’s are looking for a way to fight the unreasonable collection and penalty charges that can skyrocket a harmless error.
In recent years municipal and state authorities are increasingly using road tolls as a way to subsidize construction and maintenance of the state’s aging Virginia road, bridge and tunnel system. Even more dramatic is the shift to using private collection companies and law firms that tack on outrageous collection fees and penalties.

The list of toll horror stories is growing and taking it place among the debt horror stories of Virginia families along with student loans, payday loans, and timeshare debt.

With stories of a few dollar tolls rocketing to $100’s of dollars, Richmond and Portsmouth residents are well warned to consider an EZ pass to protect against toll debt. However, stories of delayed billing by toll authorities resulting in unreasonably high bills because collection and penalty fees are already added to the account.

A story reported by CNN online tells of a Virginia man charged $17,000 for tolls that totaled $36 at their inception.

Some toll debtors across the country are finding themselves in jail due to non-payment.

For residents of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and even Chesapeake, crossing the Elizabeth River Tunnel as part of your daily commune can amount to a $1,000 annual tax. Prior to 2012, the route was free. Local residents are also faced with annual fee increases. The real slap in the face is that they are not getting the benefit of the new tunnel and the hope of better traffic flow and are paying for something they may never use if they move from the area.

Yet, families that cannot afford a $1000 tax on driving to work have little choice but take their chances, change residences or employment to the same side of the tunnel to avoid this charge.

Legislators, municipal authorities, and state officials show little concern for the extremely poor deals they have executed on behalf of the voters.

Faced with outrages toll bills, more and more Virginia residents are opting to file bankruptcy with the few law firms familiar with how to alleviate their debt in bankruptcy.

Yes, tolls can be wiped out in bankruptcy. Unlike traffic fines and other court related fines, toll charges are a private debt and not excluded from discharge as other court penalties.

To find out more about wiping out your toll debt call Merna Law today at 800-662-8813. We will wipe that slate clean and start you on a fresh financial path.

Fill out a financial evaluation. Richmond, Newport News, Virginia BeachChat now about bankruptcy. Richmond, Newport News, Virginia BeachCall us at 800-662-8813 about bankruptcy, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Newport News

 

 

 

 

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Are We On The Verge of Jetson’s Law? https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/04/27/jetson_law/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jetson_law https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/04/27/jetson_law/#respond Thu, 28 Apr 2016 00:40:10 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8299 walmart, jetson law, law store, missouriby John G. Merna

You remember, if you are old enough, the Jetsons? The futuristic space age cartoon family living in kind of early 1960’s vision of a future full of automation where small doors always seemed to slide open and a claw hands the needed item out in finished form.

If George Jetson needed a fast divorce I would wager a guess he would command his robot maid, Rosie, and the door on her stomach would open and a claw arm would hand him a final divorce decree.

Embedded in this comic vision of life in the future was two ideas that are constant factors in commercial evolution: speed and convenience. These factors are equally present in the evolution of legal services.

As the maturity of the internet has applied greater pressure on all types of businesses. so too has the net’s driving force been felt in law offices.  How do we make the law more accessible to everyone, primarily the underserved? How do we make the law more convenient, easier to understand, and affordable?

The concept of the traditional law firm, where you make an appointment and visit an attorney in his office for a consultation is changing, perhaps not quickly enough. Not only is there a need for greater access to the law and legal services but a great need for more simplified processes for consumer law issues.

But is there a market? According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, there is a “Crisis of Access” to legal services and resources. “Eighty percent of low income people have trouble obtaining legal representation or otherwise accessing the civil court system to protect their property, family, and livelihood,” according to their website.  As you might imagine the access issues go down as you go up the economic scale but it is still dramatic no matter what your income level.

This dilemma is a double-edged sword for the American legal system. With affordability a key consideration, a large part of the population is faced with either foregoing the use of the legal system to defend or enforce their right or navigate the labyrinth without counsel. In recent years the number of self-represented civil litigants has been steadily rising and blocking up court dockets.  Additionally, research into landlord tenant cases proved a clear disadvantage exists to unrepresented parties.

What is the answer? In short, I believe there is an agreement that the legal system needs to reevaluate restrictions and constraints on attorneys to lower the risks and requirements that translate into higher costs to operate a law firm. The high cost of malpractice insurance, high cost of qualified labor, cost of office overhead, etc., all contribute to determining the cost of legal services.  But also the traditional model of delivering legal services needs to be redesigned.  Equally important as the redesign is the need for acceptance by the courts, bar associations, and attorneys of new channels and means to deliver legal services. Only with both a better model and acceptance of new ideas for delivery by the courts will greater access to justice be available.

How long will this take, you ask? We are in the midst of these new models being introduced.  Legal Zoom is one of the more well known internet legal providers.  Yet, unfortunately a completely internet reliant legal options leaves a lot to be desired.  Personal interaction, local legal knowledge, etc. are wanting for many considering the internet option.  The American legal system is in need of a bridge between the traditional law model and the pure internet model.  What will it be? Should access to legal help be available in a store such as Walmart or Target? Is the public ready for a retail law store model where they can shop for their legal needs like you shop for groceries?

As with other areas of commerce, the law and courts do not push change. Ideas and innovation push change. And change can be slow especially in the law.  So it is unlikely that you will be served paper by Rosie the robot in the near future.  However, change is upon us and well=needed.  The era of Jetson law may not be as far away as we think.

Stay tuned for our next blog on “Are We Ready To Shop For a Lawyer Like We Shop For Groceries?”

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Protect Your Tax Refund From Scams https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/02/20/protect-your-tax-refund-from-scams/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=protect-your-tax-refund-from-scams https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/02/20/protect-your-tax-refund-from-scams/#respond Sat, 20 Feb 2016 21:00:11 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8251 Protect Your Tax Refund, Virginia Beach, Newport News, Richmond, Chesterfield, Tampa, clearwater, hillsborough, pascoby John G. Merna
Tax time is upon us. And with your tax refund comes the risk of being targeted by fraudsters attempting to steal your tax refund. The scams come in two versions.

Tax-Identity Theft Scam

A tax-identity theft scam is where the fraudster has access to your identifying information such as your social security number, full name, address, and maybe even work and pay information. The fraudsters files a fake 1040 using your information but forwarding the refund to an account or address within their control. For this to work the fraudsters must file the refund before you. Therefore, early filing can reduce the risk of this happening.

IRS Imposters

The other type of tax-related scams is receiving a communication, primarily a phone call from a person claiming to be an IRS agent and asserting that you owe money. The announcement of the false claim that you owe money is followed by threats if it is not paid immediately. The threats can included imprisonment.
Please be aware: THE IRS DOES NOT CALL YOU TO COLLECT DEBTS. They send letters if you owe a debt and if you do not respond via mail they will move forward with liens on your property, levies of your bank account, or garnishment of your wages. THE IRS NEVER CALLS TO THREATEN YOU.
This IRS impersonator scam can be used any time of year to try to extract money out of you. You should also be aware that since your bankruptcy information is public record general information like your full name, address, and the last four digits of your social are available. Similar scams have targeted bankruptcy filers after they receive their discharge.

Warnings:

There are a few warnings that might trigger you to investigate whether your social security number has been compromised and is being used.
1) If you receive a W-2 or a 1099 from an employer you did not work for during the year;
2) You receive any information that indicates more than one tax return has been filed;
3) You receive a call claiming to be from the IRS (Do not confirm the validity of the call by calling back they number the caller left. Call the number below.);
4) You receive a suspicious letter claiming you owe back taxes.
In all of these situations call the IRS directly via the publically advertised phone number on their website to confirm the communication is legitimate.

What Can You Do If You Are A Victim Of A Tax Scam?

Here is what to do if you suspect you are a victim or believe your tax refund is being targeted by scammers.
1) Act Quickly – Do not delay.
2) Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
3) Fill out and forward an IRS ID Theft Affidavit Form 14039 with proof of your identity, such as a copy of your Social Security card, driver’s license or passport.
4) Keep records of when any calls were received and the details of the conversation. The same is true for letters. Keep copies.
5) Contact the three major credit reporting bureaus and put a “Fraud Alert” on your records.
6) Order a copy of your credit reports to determine whether any other damage has occurred.
7) Visit the Federal Trade Commission website (https://www.identitytheft.gov/#what-to-do-right-away) and file a report.
The best precaution you can take is to be careful of disclosing your social security number via the internet. Your name and address are everywhere. Scammers need your full social security number to pull of most tax related scams.

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5 Reasons To File Bankruptcy Instead Of Struggling With Debt https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/02/11/5-reasons-to-file-bankruptcy-instead-of-struggling-with-debt/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-reasons-to-file-bankruptcy-instead-of-struggling-with-debt https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/02/11/5-reasons-to-file-bankruptcy-instead-of-struggling-with-debt/#respond Fri, 12 Feb 2016 03:23:28 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8242 by John G. Merna

We get dozens of calls each week from people who are trying to decide whether bankruptcy is a better option than struggling with their bad debt.

There are a number of ways to look at your situation to determine if bankruptcy will get you further ahead credit wise.  I want to start by first explaining some of the bankruptcy myths that hold people back from rationally weighing their options logically.

Bankruptcy Myth 1 – You can’t recover your from Bankruptcy for 10 years.

This is not true. The confusion here is people  mistakenly assume that the length of time a bankruptcy is remains on your credit report is that same as how long your credit is affected.   How long a bankruptcy is on your credit report is not the same as how long your credit will be affected. You can recover from the bankruptcy to the point of buying a house within three years. Your “credit” is your credit score, FICO or Beacon.  A bankruptcy filing only affects your credit score once and the effect on your credit score is so minimal that within a few months of filing bankruptcy your credit score can be higher than it was before you filed bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Myth 2 – Bankruptcy won’t get rid of all of my debt.

This just a variation of myth one that bankruptcy will hurt you longer than if you struggle with my bad debt and poor credit. I If you look at your debt and your ability to pay it off with a open mind you would realize that the cost of paying off bad debt can be very expense and delay your recovery for years.

So five reasons to file bankruptcy instead of struggling to pay bad debt and continuing to have bad credit.

1) Instant relief. You immediately can stop paying your debt. This can be an enormous relief for most.
2) Instant protection. Whether you have been experiencing garnishments or just harassing collection phone calls, it all stops almost immediately.  The protection of bankruptcy is automatic when you file and almost immediate.
3) Affordable. When you consider what you are paying out each year to just maintain your debt, paying a bankruptcy attorney is a bargain.
4) Easy. While you have to assist your bankruptcy attorney by collecting documents, this is considerably easier than the stress of continuing to struggle to pay your debt.
5) Fast Recovery. If you compare how long it would take for you to payoff your debt and recover your credit with the fact that you can buy a house within three years after a bankruptcy, there generally is no question- you can recover faster with bankruptcy.
So a I am known to say often “A bankruptcy recovery is faster, cheaper, and easier for most than struggling to pay off your debt.”

Check out our bankruptcy recovery program which is free to our clients (www.acceleratedcreditrecovery.com).  Give us a call today for a free consultation.

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Vote “Merna Law” Best Lawyers In Richmond 2016 https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/02/06/vote-merna-law-best-lawyers-in-richmond-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vote-merna-law-best-lawyers-in-richmond-2016 https://mernalaw.com/blog/2016/02/06/vote-merna-law-best-lawyers-in-richmond-2016/#respond Sun, 07 Feb 2016 04:38:08 +0000 https://mernalaw.com/?p=8212 Best Lawyer, bankruptcy, Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Midlothian, Mechanicsville, Dinwiddie, Petersburg, Colonial Heights

Vote “Merna Law” Best Lawyers In Richmond

Vote Below For Merna Law –

 

Thank you very much for your support last year where we were voted one of the “Best Lawyers” in Richmond.

Here are this years rules and instructions.

 

  • One vote per email.

  • Scroll down on the page below to the “Best Lawyer” category.

  • Write in “MERNA LAW”

  • You must register to have your vote counted. After registration, confirm your registration by clicking on the link sent to your email account then vote. A green “voted” box will display if the vote is counted properly.

  • To Vote: The direct link is http://styleweekly.secondstreetapp.com/l/2016-Best-of-Richmond/Ballot/GoodsandServices . Write “Merna Law” in to vote for us under “Goods & Services – Best Lawyer” category.

Thank you once again for your suppport. We are blessed with the greatest clients in Virginia. Enjoy reading Style Weekly.

 

 

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