Austin Legal Blog

Is debt on the comeback trail?

Whether it involves a celebrity changing a once-tarnished image, an athlete overcoming serious injury or a politician on the comeback trail following a scandal, everyone loves a good comeback story.

Even remade movies, resurrected film franchises and rebooted television shows can reclaim their former dominance.

Are you ready for a “rainy day?”

According to, a little more than half of Americans (52 percent) are committed to “saving for a rainy day.” Specifically, they have more money in emergency savings accounts than credit card debt.

However, the percentage of Americans with more credit card debt than “rainy day” funds grew from 22 to 24 percent over the past year. While delinquencies remain low, larger balances and growing interest rates could see a growth of severely past-due debts in the future.

The dire consequences when refusing to pay for something unusable

A lien is a way for the government to make a claim on your home when taxes are not paid. While they cannot seize your property, they do get first right to it over other creditors.

By now, the story of Flint, Michigan’s water problem is well known. For more than three years, city residents have not had access to anything resembling clean water. Because of this ongoing problem, they decided to hold back payments, waiting for the problem to be solved so they happily could pay for something they could actually use.

Collection agencies and the mistakes they make

Collection agencies are tasked to secure past-due debts. Oftentimes, they engage in aggressive and outright harassing tactics to convince targeted debtors to make good on what they owe.

What they fail to consider in far too many cases is that they may be contacting the wrong person or the debt could be invalid. Studies are showing that they may be wrong far more often than they are right, whether they want to admit it or not.

A history of presidential tax audits

As the April 18 deadline looms, taxpayers are putting the finishing touches on their returns. Yet, no matter how much attention they pay to every detail, they still fear the possibility of a looming audit.

Statistics say that the concern is somewhat misguided. The average taxpayer has a 0.7% chance of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service.

Hunt for eggs, not tax receipts

The intersection of a holiday weekend and a federal tax deadline may affect the enjoyment of a long weekend. While the official day was moved to April 18, two days after Easter, any extra time off may be filled with last-minute preparation.

While the Internal Revenue Service is serving as a de facto Easter Bunny in giving taxpayers until next Tuesday, options exist to buy more time to file taxes.

Are you putting yourself in the proximity of an audit?

The end of March brings the April shower of tax filings to the Internal Revenue Service. After submitting their tax forms, Texas businesses will have their fingers crossed that refunds will flower.

According to a recent study, companies located near IRS offices are more likely to be audited. A recent joint study by professors from the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, University of Kansas and Clemson University gives pause to companies neighboring IRS offices in major metropolitan areas.

The lessons learned from bankruptcy at a young age

Few people at the age of 21 can claim many, if any “real life” setbacks, let alone learning from the experiences.

At the age of nineteen, Omar Spahi, today the founder of Ocean Avenue Realty Inc., inherited more than 30 multi-million dollar properties. However, the windfall was ill timed as the economy collapsed months later. With only equity and without cash flow from rentals, he contacted the mortgage holders who refused to modify the loans.

A win for consumers impacted by inaccurate credit reports

One of the most common concerns people have when pursuing bankruptcy is the effect filings have on their future ability to be approved for credit. They already suffer from low FICO scores. Late payments and delinquencies have also led to aggressive collection actions that include wage garnishments, liens, lawsuits, home foreclosures and car repossessions.

Eventually, a Chapter 7 debt discharge or Chapter 13 reorganization can provide a much-needed boost to credit scores. However, all consumers may see an automatic increase come this summer.

What happens to your debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Are you overrun by overdue bills and statements? Do you receive phone calls and threatening letters from debt collectors? If you feel that you will never escape from the mounting pressure that comes from overwhelming debt, you need a way out, and you need it now. Fortunately, there is an option available to you.