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You've filed bankruptcy and eradicated the debt that's been hanging over you for months or years. Now it's time to start planning for the future. While bankruptcy does offer the chance for a fresh start, it also causes an immediate hit to your credit score. With time and careful management of your resources, you can help your credit bounce back.

1. Secured Credit Cards

Some people have difficulty finding lending opportunities after bankruptcy. Creditors may be unwilling to take a chance on someone with a recent bankruptcy on their record. A secured credit card could be the solution. When you get approved for a secured credit card, you make a cash deposit to the lender. The deposit is typically the same amount as your credit limit. You get your deposit returned after making on-time payments for a set amount of time. Secured cards often have high-interest rates, so use them as a credit-building tool and keep a low balance.

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There's a reason that debt collectors have such a bad reputation-they are aggressive and often blatantly disregard the law in their attempts to get a payment from a debtor. Even worse, most consumers do not know their rights or are too ashamed of their financial situation to advocate for themselves. Even if you are behind on payments, you do not deserve to have your rights ignored. If a debt collector tries these practices, they could be in violation of state or federal law. Companies that break debt collection laws may have to pay the victim a fine for each and every violation.

1. Calling After Being Asked to Stop

If you do not wish to receive calls anymore, you can request that all communication regarding your debt be done in writing. You should make this request in writing and send it via certified mail. If the collector continues to call after receiving this letter, they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

2. Calling an Unreasonable Amount of Times or at Unreasonable Hours

While the law doesn't say how many calls are allowed in a 24-hour period, it does say that collectors can't call too frequently or place an unreasonable amount of calls. Furthermore, they cannot call before 8 A.M. or 9 P.M. The exception to this rule: they may call you outside these hours if you make arrangements with them to discuss your debt outside this time frame.

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5 Possible Foreclosure Defenses

Posted on in Foreclosure

For many, there's no greater accomplishment than owning a home. On the same note, losing your home through foreclosure can be demoralizing and embarrassing, leaving families in financial ruin. If your North Carolina home is at risk of foreclosure, there are several defenses you may pursue to avoid it.

1. Loan Modification

Loan modification is an option to explore as soon as you know that foreclosure is on the table. This requires the lender and the borrower to come to an agreement regarding new loan terms. You may be expected to present proof of your budget, how much you can afford, and your ability to pay moving forward. The process can take several months, which is why it's crucial to apply as soon as possible.

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Can Bankruptcy Resolve Tax Debt Matters?

No one likes thinking about their debt, but there's something about tax debt that makes it even more threatening and overwhelming than other obligations you may have. Mail from the IRS or North Carolina Department of Revenue can cause a knot in your stomach and lead to serious financial consequences down the road. If some or all of your debt comes from back taxes, find out how bankruptcy could help you get some breathing room.

Are Taxes Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

In some cases, money owed to the IRS or North Carolina Department of Revenue can be discharged through bankruptcy, however, there are some factors that may affect your ability to discharge tax debt. There are also some types of tax debt that cannot be written off. This is why it's important to consult a bankruptcy attorney near you. If you find out immediately that your debt is nondischargeable, you can make an informed decision whether or not bankruptcy is worth it. Payroll taxes, fraud penalties, and non-income taxes cannot be discharged.

The Timing of Your Tax Returns

Timing is perhaps the most crucial factor in figuring out whether or not your tax debt can be discharged through bankruptcy. Assuming that most of your debt comes from income taxes, you must meet bankruptcy standards for discharge. If you committed fraud or tax evasion, that amount cannot be discharged. Similarly, you must have filed a tax return for each year of debt you wish to discharge. If you did not file, the taxes owed for that year cannot typically be discharged in bankruptcy.

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Bankruptcy and Your Credit Score

Posted on in Bankruptcy

Many people worry about their ability to secure loans, find housing, or apply for jobs in certain industries if they have a bankruptcy affecting their credit score. Knowing what to expect can help you make an informed decision.

A Sudden Decrease in Your Credit Score

Don't be surprised or panicked if you notice a sudden drop in your credit score at one or multiple bureaus. Bankruptcy is a derogatory mark on your credit report, and it can significantly decrease your creditworthiness in the eyes of lenders. This is especially true if your accounts are current or only slightly delinquent, as your credit score may not have been seriously impacted by your growing amount of debt. While it is hard to accept a decrease in your credit score, don't worry. There are many ways you can strengthen your score over time.

When Bankruptcy Can Help Your Credit Score

In some cases, bankruptcy may only have a brief minimal negative effect on your credit score, followed by a rather speedy recovery. If you waited until bankruptcy was unavoidable, you may have many delinquent accounts, accounts in collections, and defaulted accounts. If that is the case, keep in mind that a credit score can only go so low - 300 in the case of a FICO score. But when your debt is discharged in bankruptcy, all of these negative marks are quickly removed from your credit report, and your debts are reported as being discharged. Therefore, even with the impact of a bankruptcy on your credit report, your credit score can improve rather quickly.

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