Louisville Bankruptcy Lawyers

Louisville and Southern Indiana Debt Relief Lawyers

Are you suffering from overwhelming debt? Are you receiving threatening mail and phone calls from creditors or collection agencies? High levels of debt can be one of the most difficult challenges people face. It may seem as though you are never able to catch up on your bills or build any savings to help you deal with financial emergencies. You don't have to needlessly suffer the constant wearing down of being deeply in debt.

We can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel at the office of Richard A. Schwartz, Bankruptcy Attorney. We have almost three decades of experience helping the individuals and families of the Louisville and New Albany area get out from under their debt.

We Help People Get a Fresh Start

Our Louisville bankruptcy attorneys focus specifically on personal bankruptcy. We believe that individuals and families who have found themselves under the weight of excessive debt deserve the opportunity to rebuild. Many times these families have fallen into their situation due to circumstances beyond their control such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Medical emergency
  • Divorce

How We Can Help

If your life is being controlled by your debt we can help you begin to see a way out:

Contact Our Louisville Bankruptcy and Kentucky Debt Relief Attorneys Today

For help getting out from under debt, in Kentucky call 502-485-9200, in Indiana call 812-945-9200, and toll free in either at 866-366-3328 or simply contact us online to set up your free initial consultation. Evening, weekend and in-home appointments are available for your convenience.

Client Reviews

Review: Kruger & Schwartz
5.0
I chose Kruger & Schwartz and more specifically - Attorney Tracy Hirsch to help me with several legal needs. She is personable, professional and was on top of everything. She was extremely knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend her. Often times when we see an attorney it's not for a pleasant experience and/or there are tough decisions to be made, but Tracy hand held me through the process and made everything a breeze. Thank you Tracy.
Review: Kruger & Schwartz
5.0
I was blessed to have worked at Kruger & Schwartz for over a year before relocating. Rick and Tracy are VERY helpful Attorneys who love to help their clients! It is a wonderful environment there and the staff is very friendly!

Helpful Bankruptcy Blog

The Good and Bad to Filing an Extension for Taxes

The grass is always greener on the other side, the old adage says. Filing for an extension for your taxes may give you more time, but there are always cons to every pro!

Extensions are made so that you have an opportunity to have more time to file your tax return. Typically the IRS automatically will grant an additional six months for you to file. However, even if you file for an extension, your payment for anything owed is still due the 15th of April. The extension may help reduce your penalties if you can’t afford to pay the full amount on time.

So what are the benefits?

  • Extra time (six months) to finish your return. Sometimes you just need a little extra time to tackle the unpleasant task of filing your taxes. Maybe you’re waiting on documents to be mailed to you or need to organize deductions, either way more time can be a good thing.
  • Reduce late penalties. The IRS typically issues two different types of late penalties, a late filing penalty and a late payment penalty. With an extension, you don’t have to worry about a late filing penalty until October.
  • Improve the accuracy of returns. When you’re rushing before the deadline, mistakes are bound to happen. Having a little more time will make sure things are filled out accurately and completely to insure no errors are made! In addition, it will give your accountant more time to do things fully without being rushed as well.
  • Extra time for those that are self-employed to fund retirement plans. People who are self-employed may be looking to fund a solo 401(k), a SEP-IRA, or a SIMPLE-IRA. When you extend your filing time, this gives you six extra months to fund the retirement plan of choice.
  • Preserve your tax refunds, even if you file after the extended deadline. Even if you file several years late, there’s a three-year deadline for receiving a refund check from the IRS. The original due date for it would be 3 years from the year you’re supposed to have filed by. With an extension, it can be extended by six months which helps taxpayers receive their federal tax refund even if you get behind on your tax return.
  • Help reduce fees from tax preparation. Some accountants raise fees during tax season as the deadline approaches, once the off season comes around those fees drop again. Taxpayers who are thriftier may find that filing for an extension helps them save money in the tax preparation department.

What’s the other side of the fence on extensions?

  • You still have to pay. Just because you got some extra time to file your return, doesn’t mean that any tax due by the original deadline can go unpaid. Extensions can help reduce penalties, but anything that is outstanding will be late if not paid.
  • You don’t get more time to change your married filing status. You won’t be able to switch from joint to separate returns from an extension. You can however switch to married-filing-separately by April 15th if you amend your return.
  • Not everyone is eligible for extensions. Those taxpayers who were approved for an offer in compromise still must file by the April deadline if within the probationary period of five years. The IRS can revoke the offer in compromise if you do not file on time and will re-instate the original amount owed.
  • Extensions don’t give you more time for your IRA. Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs still need to be in by the April deadline.

While there are pros and cons to everything in life, don’t let wasting your tax return be one of your cons. Start getting things together in your life now!

What to Really Expect From Bankruptcy

While filing bankruptcy is often a last resort for those, whose finances have plummeted, it’s important to know what’s true and what’s not when considering it as your next step. Work towards speeding up your credit recovery and minimizing effects by understanding the correlation between a bankruptcy and its effect on your credit scores.

You may think, or maybe you were even told, that having no negative information on your report before filing for bankruptcy will give you a higher post-bankruptcy score. However, this has little effect on the overall result of your credit score after bankruptcy. The biggest determining factors here are bankruptcy information, and length of time since the information appeared.

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If you think all bankruptcy information stays on your credit report for 10 years no matter what, you’re also misinformed. In fact, only Chapter 7 bankruptcy lasts for 10, the rest remain for only seven years including: trade lines indicating “account included in bankruptcy,” third-party collection debts, judgments, and tax lines discharged through bankruptcy, and chapter 13 public record items.

Maybe you’re worried about having a low credit score as long as bankruptcy information lingers on your reports; however this isn’t the case either. Of course you’re not going to have a stellar score; however with properly managed credit afterwards you could achieve a 700 or higher after only 4 or 5 years. How can you do that? You will need to add “positive” credit, such as secured credit cards and installment loans to offset negatives, make payments on-time always for all debt, low balanced credit cards that make up less than 25% of credit limits.

Not all bankruptcy is created equal, which means consumers will be impacted differently depending on the amount of debt discharges, how many debts are included in the filing, proportion of negative to positive accounts on the report and so on. Which means if you have a relatively low debt total spread over a few accounts you could end up with a higher score after bankruptcy than someone who’s bankruptcy is more extensive.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that credit history associated with bankruptcy accounts will be removed from the report. In reality, all of the bankruptcy-related events appear on your credit report and is considered by a scoring formula for all of the seven to 10 years after bankruptcy. However, the negative impact does decrease over time.

You can also qualify for an FHA home loan a mere two years after your bankruptcy is discharged, provided you meet all other requirements by that time.

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Talk with your bankruptcy attorney before leaping into bankruptcy so you can discuss all of your options and come up with the best plan of action for your situation. This way you can minimize any damage necessary, and jump-start your re-establishment in the credit world.

Things You Should Know if Filing Taxes Last Minute

It’s important to take care of your taxes as soon as possible and not fall behind… However we know things happen and maybe you’ve found yourself now standing in line at the post office the day taxes are due. If this sounds like you, there are some things you need to keep in mind while rushing to get your taxes done that will help you keep things in a row.

Tax Time

File for an Extension: If you’ve been procrastinating, and you need some more time on those taxes, don’t bother telling your sob story to the IRS about your all-nighter that consisted of coffee, blood, sweat, and tears. Instead, bypass the conversation altogether and fill out the IRS Form 4838 and submit it either via mail or online. The IRS grants automatic extensions, however an extension on time for filing, is not an extension to pay.

No Money, No Filing? No Chance: There’s no reason not enough money to pay everything at once should hold you back from filing your taxes. Instead, look into filing for an installment agreement. This will allow you to opt to pay taxes in payments over time, rather than a lump sum. It will cost you some to set this up, but agree to have funds withdrawn electronically and that cost gets cut in half. Look into IRS Form 9465.

Bank Info: Sure, you can file your taxes completely online now; pay what you owe, and get refunds directly deposited into your bank account. This gives you instant gratification and no hassle. However, be sure to enter your bank information correctly or you could miss out on that return!

Social Security Numbers: It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re in a hurry. If you’re filing taxes last minute, that means you’re probably in a hurry. Make sure to carefully go over all information to make sure things are correct. This is especially important for things like social security numbers, names, and identification qualifications.

Don’t Forget to Sign Returns: Again, you’re in a hurry – which means you’re prone to overlooking things. Signatures are extremely important on returns as they are considered invalid if left unsigned. If someone else prepared your form for you, they must also sign.

Have a Plan of (Post Office) Attack: If you’re mailing in your return forms, you need to make sure things are postmarked no later than April 18th. Some post offices are nice and will stay open longer hours on tax day for this specific reason. However, not all do so call your local post offices to make sure you know the appropriate hours. Lines may be very long these days, so work to get them out sooner than later and save yourself the stress.

Next year, don’t procrastinate so much!

Filing Taxes After Filing Bankruptcy

There is life after bankruptcy! But don’t forget, life after bankruptcy also includes taxes. Make sure you know what you need to watch for and know when and how to file.

No matter the time of year, April 15th always seems to be around the corner, with little time to prepare, especially if you’re filing or considering filing for bankruptcy. So how can you minimize the stress?

Bankruptcy is essentially the surrendering your right to handle your own affairs and having a trustee oversee them. Thus your affairs are then part of an estate, such as if you had died or were debilitated.

The trustee then takes care of creditors for you with assets that aren’t exempt under federal or state law.

What gets confusing about filing taxes after bankruptcy is that you’re required to fill out two tax forms. One for personal and the other is for your bankruptcy estate. For Chapter 7, you will have to file your 1040 as you usually would, it’s an obligation to file and the trustee has no part in this. Then your trustee would file a Form 1041 for your estate for bankruptcy.

For Chapter 11, you will maintain control of your assets and act as the bankruptcy trustee. You will then file for your individual 1040 and the bankruptcy 1041.

If you are filing for yourself and the bankruptcy, the common mistake is to miss filing for the 1041 which you will have to do no matter what your trustee situation is.

For Chapter 13, you will pay disposable income into a monthly payment plan to pay the creditors. You will more than likely have to continually file returns to the trustee and turn refunds for payments to creditors, however as with Chapter 7 your trustee handles the 1041 form.

So what should you do if you have to file for taxes after bankruptcy?

  • Talk with an attorney about your bankruptcy case. Inform the attorney about your tax filing status for the past three years, how you handled it, and details of your filing.
  • If you have yet to file for 2014, consider doing so before filing for bankruptcy, unless you know for sure you’re going to have a substantial refund.
  • If you have filed, make sure your attorney gets all of your tax records and you have explained how you spent refund money, if you’ve spent any yet. (You should use your refund to hire your attorney, don’t you think?)
  • Whatever refund you get, if you are pretty certain that you’re going to have to file for bankruptcy, make sure to be smart with the money you get back and don’t use it to pay off bills. This will slow down your bankruptcy case significantly.
  • Don’t forget to file on time. Don’t get hit with additional fees for being late on your filing!

Tax Filing Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid

Let’s face it, filing taxes isn’t always fun, and it only gets more complicated as you progress through life’s stages: getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc. The more complex your tax forms become; the more mistakes made. When it comes to taxes, that’s something you really don’t want to do wrong.

We want to help you pinpoint common errors in tax filing so you don’t make the same mistakes!

  • Misspelled names: Ever get a test back just to realize you got a zero for not putting your name on it? Well this is the grown-up version of that for taxes. The IRS requires names to be entered as seen on Social Security cards, so it’s always good to double check.
  • Wrong filing status: Filing statuses can get complicated – like when a married couple can claim head of household if they are separated and living with a child. That means if you have in doubt, look for guidance either from your tax professional, or from IRS resources.
  • Mixed up Social Security Numbers: If there are a lot of people in your family (kids, spouse, etc.) it can be easy to mix numbers up, and cause you to get rejected. To be on the safe side of things, pull out the cards for each person and write them down carefully to make sure you get it right the first time.
  • Forgetting to sign a form: Remember what we said earlier about not putting your name on the paper? Well here that is, back to haunt you in your adult life. If you do not sign your returns in all the right places, you can count on a rejection. If you’re married, make sure your spouse signs too!
  • Incorrect E-signature: Are you starting to see how important your name can be? When you file online, you have to sign things with your Personal Identification Number. Software often asks taxpayers to enter the adjusted gross income from previous returns. If you had to correct your return, make sure you’re using the adjusted gross income from the original return.
  • Credits and Deductions Mistakes: According to the IRS, calculation of earned-income tax credit is often a big error. You’ll also want to be sure to claim the right standard deduction.
  • Math: Math isn’t everyone’s strong suit. Luckily, most online software will calculate the details for you, but if you’re filing paper returns – make sure the numbers add up, literally.
  • Bank Account Numbers Incorrect: It’s hard for the IRS to direct-deposit your return to you if you give an incorrect account number!

If you have any doubts, hire a professional and make sure you get what you’re owed!

Use Your Tax Refund Wisely: Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney

By law, you should have received your W-2 tax forms from your employer no later than January 31st 2014. That means everyone should have their forms by now and be readying to file their taxes. As you sit down to plug in your tax information, or meet with your tax accountant to file, consider this: what are you going to do with that refund?

Many will take the refund and put it in savings, pay off a credit card, buy a new fancy toy, invest it, or other various options. However, three in five working Americans have increased mortgages, credit card balances, and installment loans which are exceeding the money they can save for retirement. What does this mean? Debt. A lot of times tax-payers get into such a debt-hole that it seems like there’s no way out. So what should you really be doing with that tax return? Hiring a bankruptcy attorney.

Yes, bankruptcy sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. What’s scary is not being able to save any money for retirement or emergency funds. Instead, get a fresh start and a clean slate. So before you even attempt to chip away at your debt with the tax return money you’ll be receiving, wait. Take the money you get back, and hire a lawyer and get your entire life back from debt.

Begin rebuilding your credit, maintain your property, discharge your taxes, and get creditors off your back. Call our office of Richard A. Schwartz Bankruptcy Attorney and let us help you see the end light at the end of that tunnel.