Duncan Law Blog

How do I get the Tax Value Changed on my House?

Jan 27, 2015 No Comments by

Family Walking Holding HandsWhen filing a bankruptcy, one question you will hear quite often is “what is the tax value of your property?” When looking at property in a bankruptcy, whether the property is a residence, house, land or condo, the Courts tend to use the “tax value” when determining the value of the property unless there is a more accurate value determined by another means. 

In some cases, one may feel that the tax value of their property is not accurate or up to date. Someone may feel that the tax value is listed as too high, or maybe even too low. If you feel that the tax value of your property is not in line with your expectations, listed below are a few steps that can help guide you to changing the tax value of your property:

1.    Contact the county tax department to which your property is located (Ex: Mecklenburg County, Guilford County Tax Department, Davidson County Tax Department, etc.).

2.    Request a re-evaluation form from the County tax assessor within the defined county. After filling out the re-evaluation form, submit the form to the county tax department where your property is assigned.

3.    Once you have submitted the evaluation form and it has been reviewed, a tax assessor will likely come out to your property and reassess your property.

4.    If the tax assessor agrees that the tax value of your property should be changed, the Tax Department assigned to your property, once re-assessed, will send out a new tax value to your property via mail, based on the criteria they use when reassessing the property.

The value of your home is important because it will determine the best way to exempt or protect your property within a bankruptcy.

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What Is A Form 25P in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

Jan 20, 2015 No Comments by

Filling Out Workers' Compensation FormsWhen you are involved in an accident that occurs on the job, there are a number of necessary Worker’s Compensation forms that need to be completed and then submitted to the appropriate office. One of these forms is called a 25P. Form 25P is also referred to as an “Itemized Statement of Charges for Drugs.”

This form is needed to obtain reimbursement for prescription or medical supply expenses related to the on the job injury and is also required under the Provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

The form must be completed in its entirety and prescription and/or medical supply receipts must be attached. The completed form and the receipts should then be sent to the workers’ compensation adjuster or your workers’ compensation attorney who can provide them to the adjuster. The adjuster will then issue you a reimbursement check.

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What Should I Expect at my Foreclosure Hearing?

Jan 13, 2015 No Comments by

Foreclosure on Rental Property | Filing for BankruptcyIn the State of North Carolina, foreclosure hearings are held by the Clerk of Court or Assistant Clerk of Court, as judges rarely hear foreclosures. The Clerk of Court is only to hear cases involving “legal defenses.” Cases involving any other type of defense, such as defense of fraud cases, are to be handled through Superior Court. This is due to North Carolina being a “Power of Sale” state.

There are three possible outcomes of a foreclosure hearing. The first outcome is that the Clerk of Court will deny the right to foreclosure. During a foreclosure hearing, a mortgage holder is required to prove four different components in order for the Clerk of Court to approve a foreclosure sale. Generally, the mortgage holder provides the Clerk of Court with documents supporting each of the four components. The four components considered at a foreclosure hearing are as follows:

1. Reasonable debt occupied by the mortgage holder or party seeking to foreclose.

2. Default on the debt

3. The right for the mortgage holder to foreclose based upon the deed of trust to the home

4. Notice of hearing was sent to the Debtor

If the mortgage holder does not prove the existence of the four components, the Clerk of Court will not approve the sale.

The second outcome of a foreclosure hearing is the Clerk of Court will issue a continuance. Under Section 45-21.16C of the General Statutes, the Clerk of Court may continue a foreclosure hearing up to 60 days. This could be due to the Clerk’s conjecture that the issue can be solved with time. For example, the Clerk may issue a 60 day continuance if the Debtor is in the process of working something out with the mortgage company. If the Clerk issues a continuance at a foreclosure hearing and the Debtor is present at the hearing, the Debtor will receive a written order from the Clerk stating the continuance.

The third outcome of a foreclosure hearing is the Clerk of Court will issue a “sale date”.

More than likely, the Clerk of Court will approve a foreclosure sale if the mortgage holder can prove all four components mentioned above. If a mortgage holder is able to prove all four components, the Debtor will receive a “sale date”, which represents the date at which the Debtor’s home will be sold. The sale date usually follows approximately 20 days after the foreclosure hearing. Once a Debtor receives a “sale date”, the Trustee, whom is listed on the deed of trust, will then post a “notice of sale” flyer at the county courthouse bulletin board in addition to sending notice to the borrower. They may also put the “notice of sale” in the upcoming newspaper.

Once the sale date has arrived, the State of North Carolina issues a ten day upset bid period. The ten day upset bid period allows for the filing of a bankruptcy within that ten day period in order to stop a foreclosure. If a bankruptcy is not filed before the sale date or during the ten day bid period, the Debtor will no longer own the property. If you have a foreclosure hearing or foreclosure sale date pending it is important that you immediately contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to learn more about how you can save your home.

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How Do I Request My Tax Transcripts Online?

Jan 11, 2015 No Comments by

Laptop ComputerOne of the most important documents we need in order to file your bankruptcy are copies of your tax returns for the last 4 years. We must have both federal and state. If you cannot find your tax returns, check with your tax preparer or ask the IRS or State for a copy of your returns. You may order a tax transcript online from the IRS website. Transcripts are free and you can get them for the current year and the past three years. You can download and print your transcript immediately or request the transcript be mailed to your address on record.

In order to get a transcript online you must first verify your identity online by registering as a guest or creating a User ID/password. As part of the registration process, you will be asked for an e-mail address they will send you a confirmation code. You’ll use the code to continue with the registration process. Don’t close the window or navigate away from the IRS page to check your e-mail; the confirmation code will be sent to your e-mail address within 10 minutes of requesting it.

When requesting the transcript online, you will need to provide your name, social security number, date of birth, filing status and the street address you provided on the last tax return you filed. You will also need to answer a few identity verification questions that only you can answer, such as your previous address, mortgage information, etc. So make sure you have all the information gathered before requesting the transcript online. If you filed your tax return electronically, it takes about 3 weeks before the tax transcript will be available. If you mailed in a paper copy of your tax return, it takes about 6 weeks. If you did not pay all the taxes you owe, your return and your transcript may not be available until mid-May, or a week after you pay the full amount owed.

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Can An Undocumented Worker or Illegal Immigrant File for Bankruptcy?

Jan 11, 2015 No Comments by

Question Mark ManCan a person who is not a legal resident of the United Stated file for bankruptcy in the US? According to 11 USC §109(a), any person that resides or has domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States or a municipality, can in fact file a bankruptcy. This means that anyone who lives, owns a business or owns property in the United States can file for bankruptcy, whether they are here legally or not. They do, however, have to have some sort of identifying number such as a social security number or a tax payer ID number.

However, if someone is applying to become a legal citizen of the United States, a bankruptcy on their record could negatively impact their application. Immigration officers typically delve into many areas of a person’s life, including their finances. An immigrant must be able to prove that they are of good moral character in order to be granted citizenship in the United States. Although we have never heard that filing a bankruptcy has stopped someone from receiving citizenship, it is something that should be considered. Having a bankruptcy in their record could throw up a red flag to the immigration office about their morality. There is currently no law that states that a bankruptcy can affect your immigration status legally, but the issue of morality could come in to play.

There is also the chance that information divulged in a bankruptcy proceeding could affect ones immigration status. If in the bankruptcy it is revealed that there are taxes owed, jobs that were obtained illegally, refusal to pay child/spousal support etc., this could greatly affect ones chance to stay in the US and be granted citizenship. If you are an immigrant to the United States and are considering bankruptcy make sure to contact an immigration lawyer and /or bankruptcy lawyer in your area soon.

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What is the Statute of Limitations on Student Loans?

Nov 05, 2014 No Comments by

Research on a White LaptopA statute of limitation sets a time frame to let a creditor know how long they have to try an come back and sue you for a debt that you owe. As discussed before, there are different statute of limitations depending on the type of debt that is owed. Unfortunately with student loans, there is no statute of limitations. Most student loans are Federal student loans which are backed by the Department of Education, in which they can come after you indefinitely for the debt that you owe. Under very rare circumstances, you may qualify for a cancellation of debt if you happen to become permanently disabled. Even more rare, you may try to discharge student loans within a bankruptcy if you fall within certain guidelines.

If you are having difficulty paying your student loans you can always attempt to see what your repayment options are including an income based repayment plan or asking for deferments until you are financially able to repay the loan.

Occasionally there are instances of private student loans in which there is a statute of limitations.  Usually, when signing up for the student loans you have agreed to the statute of limitations for the state in which the student loan lender resided. Therefore, if you are disputing the statute of limitations of a private student loans make sure you are aware of the limitations in the proper estate. Most student loans are backed by the federal government but it is not uncommon to see private student loans as well.

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What is Form MSC7 in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

Aug 24, 2014 No Comments by

Question Mark ManForm MSC7 is the report of the Evaluator in a workers compensation case in North Carolina. An Evaluator is usually a neutral person who meets with the plaintiffs and defendants in a workers compensation case in a neutral evaluation conference.

The Evaluator will usually conducts an informal presentation of facts from both parties about the case and evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of each party in the case and provide an assessment of the settlement value and possible liabilities of the parties in the case.

Unlike a mediator, whose duties are to bring the parties to a resolution of the case, the Evaluator states the strengths and weaknesses of each party so the parties may get an unbiased opinion of the possible outcome of a case if the case proceeded to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

At the completion of the neutral evaluation conference, the Evaluator will file form MSC7 with the Industrial Commission reporting the results of this conference and the Evaluator’s fees earned. This form will report, among other things, when and where the conference was held, names of the parties and attorneys at the conference, whether or not the parties reached an agreement.  If not all issues reached an agreement, the issues in which an agreement was not agreed upon. This report must be mailed to the Industrial Commission within seven days of the conclusion of the neutral evaluation conference.

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What Is A Form 18 in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation?

Jul 22, 2014 No Comments by

Filling out paperworkIf you have been injured on the job in North Carolina, you need to know your rights and the steps that must be taken to ensure your rights are protected.

Just because you are hurt on the job, you are not automatically going to receive money from your employer’s insurance company. Instead, there are certain documents that must be filed in order for you to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

The first step in pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is the filing of a Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Form 18 can be found here.

The Form 18 is the Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee, Representative, or Dependent. What this really means is this form is the official notification to your employer that you were injured by an accident at work. The form asks for your personal information, including your name, address, and information about your injury and your job. You must disclose the date, time, location, and nature of injury. You must also list your weekly wage and average hours and days worked per week.

One of the most crucial parts to the Form 18 is this: it must be filled out and submitted to the NC Industrial Commission within two years from the date of injury. If the form is not submitted during that time frame, you may lose your opportunity to recover money from your injury.

Additionally, if you do not accurately and completely list out the injuries you sustained at work then your employer’s insurance company could try to deny coverage of those injuries later on down the road.

A properly completed Form 18 is critical to the success of your workers’ compensation case. If you have been injured at work then it usually makes sense to at least set up a consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your area.

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How Can I Get Mortgage Statements Sent To Me Again After Filing Bankruptcy?

Jul 16, 2014 No Comments by

Male on White BackgroundOnce your case is filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the creditors are notified of the filing, your mortgage company may stop sending you the monthly statements for your house payment.  This is a protective measure on their part.  The mortgage company may be in violation of the federal bankruptcy automatic stay if they send a statement attempting to collect a payment on your mortgage after you have decided to surrender or give up your home in bankruptcy.  This violation carries severe penalties against the mortgage company including fines, so they do their best to avoid this violation.

A few days after your bankruptcy is filed with the Court, a notice will be sent to the mortgage company and other creditors notifying them of your intention to retain or surrender your house and other secured items including automobiles and furniture.    If you filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy the creditor will receive a copy of the Chapter 13 plan.  If you are keeping your home they will usually resume sending monthly statements to you.  However, in many cases the Chapter 13 bankruptcy Trustee will be paying the mortgage on your behalf so contact your attorney prior to sending any payments to the mortgage company.

If you filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy the secured creditors including the mortgage company will receive the Statement of Intention.  Often this is sufficient notice for your mortgage company to resume sending you the monthly statements.  In other cases the mortgage company may send a letter requesting that you and your attorney sign a notice requesting that statements be mailed to you, while other mortgage companies may wait until after your bankruptcy is discharged before sending statements.  Regardless of whether you receive the monthly statement from your mortgage company, it is extremely important that you continue to make your monthly payment to the mortgage company if you wish to retain or keep your home after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  If you wish to keep your home but fail to make your monthly mortgage payments after filing bankruptcy, the mortgage company may file a request within the bankruptcy court to foreclose on your home. Should this occur, you would be required to pay the amount you are behind on your home plus additional cost incurred by the mortgage company.



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Can I Still Use the Mortgage Deduction On Taxes If My House is Being Paid In A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Jul 14, 2014 No Comments by

Laptop KeyboardAfter filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should confirm with your attorney whether the monthly mortgage payment is to be paid by you or the Chapter 13 bankruptcy Trustee.  Often the mortgage payment is included in your monthly Chapter 13 payment and disbursed to the mortgage company by the Chapter 13 Trustee.    Regardless of how the monthly payments are made to the mortgage company, you are eligible to deduct interest paid on your loan if you itemize your deductions on your tax return, and the mortgage interest meets the requirements established by the Internal Revenue Service.   The same holds true if the property insurance and taxes are escrowed in your mortgage payment or whether you pay them directly to your insurance agent and city and county tax collector.  They should be eligible for deduction on your taxes.

The mortgage company should continue to send you the Form 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement which will list the mortgage interest, insurance premiums and real estate taxes paid to them for the tax year.  This will only include taxes and insurance if they were escrowed in your monthly payment.  If you do not receive Form 1098 by early February following the tax year, you should contact the mortgage company and request they send the form to you.  The information on Form 1098 is the same information the mortgage company provides to the Internal Revenue Service regarding your loan.

After You File, Bankruptcy, Chapter 13, Duncan Law Blog, Taxes Read more