Will Biden’s student loan forgiveness stand up in court?

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President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $10K or $20K of a borrower’s federal student loan debt may have tax implications at the state level. Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, virtually all student loans forgiven in the years 2021 through 2025 are excluded from federal income taxation.

 

State tax forgiveness is another matter, however. States are not prohibited from imposing and collecting taxes on federally forgiven loans. Read on to learn the tax implications that residents of Arkansas, California, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin may face.

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Tax Implications by State

Most states have no plans to tax Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit policy group. But at least eight states may consider federal student loan forgiveness to be taxable: Arkansas, California, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Taxpayers in these states may have to pay hundreds of dollars more in state income tax if they receive thousands of dollars in federal student debt relief.

 

The Biden administration’s forgiveness plan would provide up to $10K in debt relief to federal student loan borrowers with annual incomes below $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples). Some borrowers may qualify for $20K in debt forgiveness if they’re Pell Grant recipients who fall below the income cap.

 

Here’s more information about the states that may tax debt forgiveness:

Arkansas

Arkansas does not automatically follow federal tax code changes. This means Arkansas may collect taxes on federally forgiven student loans.

 

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration in a local news report suggested the state is reviewing whether Biden’s debt relief plan carries statewide income tax implications.

California

California does not conform to the student loan forgiveness provisions under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, according to the Tax Foundation. That means Californians who receive $10K or $20K of debt relief from the Biden plan may have to pay state taxes on the amount forgiven.

Indiana

The Indiana Department of Revenue plans to tax federal student loan forgiveness, according to the Associated Press. Unless state lawmakers change the law, Pell Grant recipients in Indiana could owe about $646, the AP reported.

Minnesota

After President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris championed their broad student loan forgiveness plan, the state of Minnesota acknowledged state tax implications.

 

In a note posted on the Minnesota Department of Revenue website as of early September 2022, the state said student loan forgiveness under the Biden-Harris Administration “is included as taxable income on a Minnesota individual income tax return and does not qualify for a subtraction under current Minnesota law.”

 

Minnesota lawmakers in local news reports have suggested they may change the law to remove the state’s income tax implications.

Mississippi

Mississippi plans to tax the $10K or $20K of federal student loan forgiveness that qualified borrowers may receive in the near future, according to published news reports.

 

State lawmakers could amend Mississippi’s law to eliminate the income tax liability, but at the moment, Mississippi’s elected leaders have not indicated whether they would do that.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Revenue said federal student loan forgiveness is considered taxable income under state law until further notice. “The Department of Revenue is monitoring any further enactments by the General Assembly that could change the taxability of student loan forgiveness in North Carolina,” the state’s Department of Revenue said in an online post dated Aug. 31, 2022.

West Virginia

West Virginia may tax Biden’s debt forgiveness, according to the Washington Post. West Virginia is reportedly seeking guidance from the IRS on whether it should treat federal student debt relief as income. It’s not clear where West Virginia might end up on the issue.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin may tax federal student loan forgiveness, according to the Tax Foundation’s independent analysis. Local news reports suggest Wisconsin’s Democratic governor supports a legislative change to remove the tax liability issue, but at least one Republican state legislator went on record to oppose such a change.

Other Biden Administration Plans

The federal government offers income-based repayment plans that may lead to loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years. The Biden administration, however, is proposing a rule that may allow some borrowers on a federal income-driven repayment plan to have their loans forgiven after 10 years.

 

The Income-Contingent Repayment or ICR plan may cap a borrower’s monthly payment at 20% of their discretionary income in many cases. The Biden administration’s proposed rule would allow some federal student loan borrowers to have monthly payments as low as 5% of their discretionary income.

Impact of Student Loan Refinancing

For those wondering how refinancing affects forgiveness, you won’t be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness if you refinance your student loans with a private lender. What you can do, however, is consider student loan refinancing after taking advantage of your federal options.

 

Biden’s loan forgiveness plan stops far short of the $50,000 student loan cancellation that some progressive Democrats advocated. This means borrowers with $50,000 of federal student loan debt could refinance their remaining balance after receiving partial forgiveness from the Biden plan.

 

Refinancing federal student loans may provide borrowers with a lower interest rate, but these borrowers would also be forfeiting other federal benefits they might be eligible for. Public employees with federal student loans, for example, may benefit from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The PSLF program is not available to borrowers who refinance student loans.

 

Recommended: Will Refinanced Student Loans Be Forgiven?

Federal Tax Break For Paying Student Loans

Eligible taxpayers who have paid interest on a qualified education loan may claim a deduction on federal income taxes, including a tax deduction on refinanced student loans. The student loan interest deduction can reduce your taxable income by up to $2,500 during an annual tax period.

 

Recommended: Are student loans tax deductible?

Is Private Student Loan Forgiveness Possible?

The difference between private student loans vs. federal student loans is that federal student loans come from the U.S. Department of Education, whereas private student loans come from banks, credit unions, and other private lenders not affiliated with the federal government.

 

Lenders of private student loans generally have no obligation to offer private student loan forgiveness. Private lenders, however, may reach debt settlement agreements with delinquent borrowers.

 

Private student loan debt settlement may include partial debt forgiveness, which may qualify as taxable income at the state level. Forgiveness of private education loans are temporarily excluded from federal income tax for the years 2021 through 2025.

The Takeaway

Student loans forgiven before January 2026 are excluded from federal income taxation, but they may be taxable at the state level for some borrowers. At least eight states may consider taxing federal student loan forgiveness. Be sure to check out the requirements of your state.

 

Learn More:

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended to December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since in doing so you will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave up to $10,000 and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients unrefinanced to receive your federal benefit. CLICK HERE  for more information.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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More from MediaFeed:

What we know about Biden’s plan to cancel student loan debt

 

Whether President Biden can unilaterally cancel student debt remains cloaked in secrecy for now. According to the Wall Street Journal, the reveal will likely happen in July or August.

 

This announcement will happen before September 1, when student loan payments are set to resume after the extended pause. Biden’s actions (and talk of his possible actions) have long since stirred a fierce debate on whether the president can actually cancel student loan debt. The following article breaks down the latest information. Keep reading to get all the details and context.

 

Related: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Student Loan Refinancing

 

 

Gage Skidmore

 

On the 2020 presidential campaign trail, Biden ran in part on a student loan reform platform. On top of suggesting potential changes to existing federal student loan forgiveness programs, he floated the possibility — both in Tweets and in campaign speeches — that he supported a proposal to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt.

 

And in April of last year, Biden asked the Department of Education if he had the authority to cancel student debt. He received a memo in response, but no public eyes have seen it so far. Thus, the cloak of secrecy.

 

For now.

 

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Biden recently erased $5.8 billion worth of educational debt for all former students of Corinthian College, the now-closed, for-profit school. This is the largest single student-debt cancellation ever by the United States government.

 

Another $6.8 billion in student loans were obliterated for 113,000 borrowers through amendments to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This allows non-profit and government employees to have their remaining debt forgiven after 10 years or 120 payments.

 

And more than $8.5 billion in student loans have been forgiven for 400,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability.

 

Additionally, let’s not forget the $2.1 billion for 132,000 borrowers through borrower defense to repayment. People can apply for borrower defense if their education provider deceived them “or engaged in other misconduct in violation of certain state laws,” according to the ED’s Federal Student Aid office.

 

fizkes / istockphoto

 

As many borrowers keep their eyes peeled for Biden’s summer announcement, speculation is growing about what is happening behind the scenes.

 

Many believe a debate continues in the Biden administration over the political and financial ramifications of wiping out billions in student loans. On one hand, the November midterm elections would be a good reason to come through on a campaign promise. On the other hand, inflation, which the Federal Reserve is fighting by raising its interest rates, could be exacerbated by the sudden cancellation of billions of debt.

 

While the political environment is evolving quickly, here’s an overview of some ways Biden might tackle the issue…

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

So, can the president unilaterally forgive student debt? Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren, among others, are pressuring Biden to take this controversial step, with the former repeatedly saying, “You just need the flick of a pen.”

 

Now that Biden has frozen repayments until Aug. 31, 2022, people are waiting for what happens next. Will it include a student loan forgiveness executive order? If not Biden, which president will forgive student loans in the future?

The coming announcement could impact how things unfold in the years to come.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

The president reportedly plans to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower. According to the Washington Post, the latest plan is for limiting debt forgiveness to Americans who earned less than $150,000 (or possibly $125,000) in the previous year or less than $300,000 (or possibly $250,000) for married couples filing jointly.

 

But Biden is hesitant to cancel the debt with the stroke of a pen. So despite the mystery surrounding the memo from the Department of Education to Biden, he continues to act through them to avoid Congressional challenges to an executive order.

 

 

 

Youngoldman / istockphoto

 

Some want to see all student loan debt canceled. But reports about forgiving $10,000 are saying it would be for federal loans only. If you’re looking for private student loan relief, namely to lower your payments, you may want to consider refinancing.

 

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

Borrowers have been in limbo, waiting to know if and how much student loan debt the Biden administration will cancel. But with interest rates climbing, it could be a good idea to focus on the aspects of your educational debt that you can control.

 

One place federal borrowers can start is to determine if they qualify for existing federal student loan repayment programs — including income-driven repayment, deferment, and public service student loan forgiveness.

 

Another place, as mentioned earlier, is to look into student loan refinancing, it’s important to understand the refinancing process. When federal student loans are refinanced through a private lender, the borrower forfeits eligibility for federal repayment programs as well as federal protections like forbearance and deferment. (With private loan refinancing, a new private loan replaces the borrower’s existing educational debt — generally including new loan terms and rates).

 

Certain private lenders offer hardship programs to provide a cushion for the unexpected — like being laid off for no fault of your own. (Not all lenders offer these programs, so it’s key to read the lender’s terms and fine print).

 

When weighing whether to pursue student loan refinancing, some borrowers find it useful to research the rates and terms offered by lenders, including any fees or penalties.

 

Michael Krinke

 

When will student loans be forgiven?

There is no single answer to this. It depends on the type of loan you take out and your specific circumstances. The Student Loan Forgiveness page from the Department of Education  has all the current details to help you understand more.

Do student loans go away after seven years?

Sorry, there is no program currently in place for that. This belief stems from the fact people see student loans disappear from their credit report after this amount of time. Seven years after the first missed payment that led to a loan either defaulting or being charged off, the main three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) erase the default status and late payments from reports.

Are student loans forgiven after 25 years?

The answer to this is a “yes but.” Yesyou can have your student loans forgiven after 25 yearsbut only if you pay them under an income-driven repayment plan, and this only applies to federal loans. The U.S. government offers four income-driven repayment plans.

 

Deposit Photos

 

Major news outlets reported in late May that the president plans on forgiving $10,000 of federal student loans for each person who makes less than $150,000 (or $125,000) annually. He’s expected to make an announcement this summer, no later than when the Cares Act payment freeze is scheduled to end (August 31).

 

But if you are thinking of refinancing, it may not pay to wait for an official word. After all, interest rates are on the rise from their historic lows. Instead, you could refinance all but $10,000 (or whatever amount you think will be forgiven) and lock in today’s low rate.

 

Learn More:

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891  Opens A New Window.(Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636  Opens A New Window., a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

 

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