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How Student Loan Forgiveness Affects Your Taxes

how student loan forgiveness affects your taxes

Generally, student loan debt cancellation is considered taxable income. If you are one of the 43 million borrowers who will benefit from President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, you might be wondering how it will affect you. Here’s a quick overview of how student loan forgiveness affects your taxes. 

President Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan 

In August 2022, President Biden enacted a federal student loan forgiveness plan for up to $10,000 per borrower who earns less than $125,000 a year, or $250,000 if you file married filing jointly. The amount increases to up to $20,000 if you received a Pell Grant while in school. Forgiveness would be applied to those who submit a simple application to verify their income through the Department of Education. Borrowers on an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan would automatically receive loan relief. 

In December 2022, the Supreme Court put the plan on hold as there are multiple lawsuits challenging the lawfulness of the plan. The Court will begin reviewing the plan again in February 2023. As of now, there are tens of millions of borrowers waiting to hear if their loans will be forgiven. 

How Forgiveness Affects Taxes 

As mentioned, forgiven debt is usually taxable income. However, Biden’s American Rescue Plan of 2021 included a measure that exempts forgiven student debt from being taxed through 2025. This means that the forgiven debt would not be subject to federal income tax. On the other hand, there are some states that have already announced their plan to tax the debt cancellation if it is found lawful by the Supreme Court. Those states include: 

  • Indiana 
  • Minnesota 
  • Mississippi 
  • North Carolina 
  • Wisconsin 

If you live in one of the states listed above, you should plan to have your forgiven debt taxed as income. Since tax season has already begun and no debt has been cancelled, you may not have to worry about the taxation until 2024. However, this allows you greater time to plan accordingly. When the time comes, your forgiven debt will be added to your taxable income under Cancellation of Debt (COD) income. The exact amount forgiven is usually stated on Form 1099-C, so it is probably safe to assume that student loan forgiveness will work the same. 

The taxes owed on the debt will depend on your income tax bracket. Indiana has a flat tax rate of 3.23% for 2022. Indiana residents may also have to pay county taxes. Minnesota’s income tax rates are graduated for 2022, ranging from 5.35% to 9.85%. Mississippi does not have state income tax on the first $5,000 of taxable income but has a flat rate of 5% for all taxable income over $10,000. North Carolina’s 2022 flat tax rate of 4.99% will result in a state tax liability for the cancelled debt. Finally, Wisconsin has a graduate tax rate ranging from 3.54% to 5.3% in 2022. Borrowers can multiply their income tax rate by the forgiven amount to find their state tax liability.  

Tax Help for Student Loan Borrowers 

If you live in one of the states that will tax student loan forgiveness, you can begin preparing now. The plan is still being reviewed by the Supreme Court which gives you extra time to put money aside for the extra taxes you will owe. In short, receiving up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness can result in an unexpected state tax liability. If the debt is forgiven, borrowers are allowed to opt out of receiving loan cancellation through the Department of Education. The only exception is if you are one of the 8 million borrowers who will receive automatic loan forgiveness because you are enrolled in an income-driven repayment program.

These new changes can result in a more stressful tax season. Working with a qualified and dedicated tax professional can help ease the process. Optima Tax Relief has a team of dedicated and experienced tax professionals with proven track records of success.  

If You Need Tax Help, Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation 

Biden Announces Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

student loan forgiveness plan

President Biden has announced his three-part student loan forgiveness plan that aims to provide relief to student loan borrowers, especially those belonging to low and mid-income levels.  

Part I: Student Loan Forgiveness for Eligible Borrowers 

Borrowers with individual incomes less than $125,000, or $250,000 for married couples, are eligible for student loan forgiveness up to $20,000. The Department of Education will cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt to borrowers who received a Pell Grant and had loans held by the Department of Education. Those who did not receive a Pell Grant will receive up to $10,000 in debt cancellation. Since this plan will not benefit high-income households, the Biden administration has extended the pause on loan repayments once more until January 2023.  

Part II: Manageable Loan System for All Borrowers  

The Department of Education proposed a new repayment plan that will replace the current income-driven plan in place. It will prevent low-income borrowers from committing to monthly payments of more than 5% of their discretionary income, a drop from the current 10%. This would lead to an average savings of $1,000 per year for both current and future borrowers.  

In addition, they will expand on the recent improvements to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. More than 175,000 public servants have had $10 billion in student loans canceled and the Department of Education expects these numbers to increase. Public servants include nonprofit workers, military members, and officials working in federal, state, local, or tribe level governments.  

Part III: Reduced Cost of College  

Earlier this year, President Biden approved the largest increase to Pell Grants since 2009, a bill that doubled the size of the maximum Pell Grant to $6,895. In addition to making tuition costs more manageable, the Biden administration has also taken steps to hold colleges accountable for keeping reasonable tuition costs, as well as ensuring students are receiving the value for their investments in higher education.  

Assuming every eligible borrower takes advantage of this plan, it will completely cancel student loans for nearly 20 million borrowers, as well as partially cancel student loan debt for 43 million others.  

Tax Debt Relief for Student Loan Borrowers 

The debt relief in Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan will not be treated as taxable income for the federal income tax purposes. However, borrowers should remain mindful of available tax breaks and filing requirements. If you need tax help, give us a call at 800-536-0734 for a free consultation today.  

An Update on Student Loan Forgiveness

An Update on Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loan debt is still on the rise and new developments regarding repayment and forgiveness have unfolded recently. President Biden will announce his plan for student loan forgiveness and repayment by the end of August 2022.  

Student Loan Payment Pause 

Loan payments are currently paused but are set to begin again on September 1, 2022. Payments have been paused several times since the Cares Act passed in March 2020. However, it seems the pause may be extended again past the August 31st deadline.  

Student Loan Forgiveness 

On the other hand, President Biden may announce a decision on student loan forgiveness. There has been some speculation that Biden plans to cancel $10,000 for more than 40 million federal student borrowers. Included loans are the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), Perkins Loans, Grad PLUS Loans, and Parent PLUS Loans, many of which have not been included in recent loan forgiveness initiatives.  

Limited Waiver 

A limited waiver was instituted in October 2021, allowing borrowers to count payments that were once considered ineligible toward forgiveness. Ineligible payments include late payments, partial payments and payments made under the incorrect payment plan. This one-time exception is due to expire after October 31, 2022. However, President Biden has named an extension of the waiver as another permanent means of loan forgiveness.  

Republican Repayment Plan 

Three Republican members of Congress introduced a new bill that serves as an alternative to President Biden’s potential plan. The plan does not include any major loan cancellation. It seeks to end the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program set to begin in July 2023 and the payment pause. The bill also introduces a new Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan that would replace the current income-driven repayment plans. It would also eliminate capitalization of student loan interest. Finally, the bill would limits student loan interest to 10 years, which can save borrowers thousands of dollars.  

Tax Debt Relief for Student Borrowers 

While student loan forgiveness seems attractive to many, nothing is set in stone yet. That said, borrowers should continue to plan for repayment. Additionally, borrowers should remain mindful of available tax breaks and filing requirements. If you need tax help, give us a call at 800-536-0734 for a free consultation today.