Illinois bankruptcy attorney, Illinois business lawyerWhen a company goes bankrupt, a wide array of people are affected. Employees, who lose their jobs, no longer have the cash flow to support local businesses. If the effect is drastic enough, those companies must also make cuts to recover from the financial blow; sometimes, those cuts include laying off their own employees. And so the spiral of a recession is born. It is this understanding of economics that has some worrying over the recent news that one-third of all oil companies are at risk for bankruptcy.

Lower Gas Prices and the Fall of the Oil Industry

Fueling up has been easier for Americans lately, thanks to the recent decrease in gas prices. Unfortunately, it has negatively affected the oil industry by making it more difficult for them to generate cash. As a result, roughly 175 companies have managed to accumulate $150 billion in debt, and few of them will be able to find their way out. Bankruptcy may be their only option.

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federal taxes, deductions, Illinois tax attorneyMarried filing joint or married filing separately – it is the decision that every married couple must make each tax year. And, with the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriages last year, there will be more couples than ever deciding how to file. So how, exactly, do you decide which option is right for you and your spouse? It really all comes down to two things: protection and deductions.

When Filing Separately Might Be Better

Over the last few years, major changes to tax laws have eased marriage penalties and given taxpayers more incentive to file jointly. However, there are a number of situations in which couples may benefit more from filing separately.  For example, those that are facing the possibility of divorce or separation may benefit more from filing separate 1040s to prevent any consequential tangles in the coming year.

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bankruptcyWhen you are swimming in debt, ignoring phone calls from creditors, facing a repossession or foreclosure, and your mailbox is filling up with lawsuits and letters from collectors, it can feel as though your life is spinning out of control. But is bankruptcy really the right debt solution for you? And if it is, which personal bankruptcy option should you choose? While there are a number of factors to consider in reaching the answers to those questions, and an attorney is best suited to guide you, the following will help you understand the basics.

Types of Personal Bankruptcy – Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13

Both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies allow you to get rid of unsecured debts and stop the proceedings of foreclosures, garnishments, repossessions, utility shutoffs, and debt collections. However, child support, alimony, fines, back taxes, and some student loan debts may be exempt, leaving you still obligated to pay them. And both may allow you to keep certain assets (within your state’s maximum valuation), such as a car or primary residence. But this is where the similarities for the types of bankruptcies end.

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Posted on in IRS Issues

side-gigTo boost their income (or simply become their own boss), some 3.2 million Americans have turned to side gigs like Uber, TaskRabbit. Some even go so far as to rent out their own apartments through sites like Airbnb while they are traveling for work or pleasure. But what a lot of folks may not realize at the time is that there are tax implications, and if not prepared, they could find themselves scrambling to account for their earnings and expenses during the upcoming tax season.

Taxes Owed: The Question Is How Much, Not If

Individuals that participate in a sharing economy usually receive a 1099-K tax statement that details their earnings. In response, the taxpayer will need to file a Schedule C to offset their income with allowable expenses. One of those expenses just so happens to be the quarterly fee charged by the IRS to sole proprietors and side-gig workers.

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tax-seasonTax season has officially started, but a lot of people will wait to file because they are afraid they owe money to the IRS. There are, however, a number of reasons you may want to file early this year, including a reduced risk of identity theft and extra time to handle some changes expected during the 2015 tax season.

Affordable Care Act

Last year was the introduction to the Affordable Care Act. This year, there will be additional changes for taxpayers. The most notable is an increase in the Shared Responsibility Payment owed by those without health insurance, which is going from $95 per adult to $325 per adult (or two percent of your income). Another big change is the additional tax form for those that do have insurance – a 1095 A, B, or C that must be presented to your preparer before you can officially file.

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bankruptcy myths in illinois, tinley park il bankruptcy lawyerMany clients come to us with questions and concerns about the bankruptcy process in Illinois. There are a lot of myths and misinformation about the process and it is not uncommon for clients to have incorrect information before meeting with legal counsel.

When the bankruptcy process is being considered, it’s important to understand its advantages, disadvantages and what the process post-bankruptcy consists of as well. Here are the top three most common myths about the Illinois bankruptcy process that we would like to debunk.

Myth #1: Employer Notification of Bankruptcy Filing

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chapter 7 bankruptcy options, Tinley Park Illinois bankruptcy lawyerWhen you are drowning in debt, it is easy to consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is, after all, a way to effectively eliminate most (if not all) of your debt so that you can begin to turn things around. It is, however, important to understand that there are some negative implications and that, in some circumstances, there may be other, better options.

Know Your State’s Laws

According to Illinois state law, individual debtors must go through credit counseling within six months prior to filing for bankruptcy. An analysis of income and expenses during that same time period will also be done to ensure the debtor’s median income qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the debtor does not qualify, they may still be eligible to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_tax-season-benefits.jpgThe Internal Revenue Service recently delivered two big doses of positive news for the 2016 tax season: lower IRS audit rates and better phone service. Both come as a relief for taxpayers, especially after the excessive number of disconnects and long wait telephone wait times experienced in 2015. But do not celebrate just yet; the IRS plans to target the wealthy and may even deploy some additional measures and strategies to enforce payment.

Budget Increase for Taxpayer Assistance

According to the IRS Commissioner, the agency received congressional approval for a $290 million budget increase on taxpayer assistance. This will enable hiring of up to an additional 1,000 customer service representatives. With the help of those additional employees, the agency hopes to get all wait times under 20 minutes – a slight improvement on the 23 minutes on the 2015 tax season. They are also looking to significantly decrease the number of accidental disconnects, which spiked to about 8.8 million during last year’s tax season.

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student loan debt and bankruptcy, Tinley Park bankruptcy attorneyMost college students require at least some sort of funding assistance to pay for their tuition. Government student loans are meant fulfill that need, but they come at a price; they must be paid back, with interest, or face further action. But with a job market that just starting to recover, and with national totals equaling about $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, as many as one in four borrowers are behind on their payments. Sadly, a recent U.S. Supreme Court case reminds them that they have little to no options for erasing or canceling that debt.

Student Loan Debts and Bankruptcy

Tuition costs have increased drastically over the years. To compensate, maximum government loan amounts increased as well. This may seem like a benefit in the short run, but the added obligation only makes it more difficult for struggling graduates. If they run into trouble—be it from a job loss, a divorce, an injury, or other major catastrophe in their lives—they may turn to bankruptcy to alleviate their obligations.

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