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Albuquerque Law Blog

Tax debt and bankruptcy discharge

Most debtors assume that tax debt, like student loan debt, are simply non-dischargeable even while many other types of debts are. What most don’t realize, though, is that while that is generally true, particularly for Chapter 13 filings, it might be possible to discharge limited tax debts under certain circumstances in a Chapter 7.

So, when is tax debt dischargeable?

Storefront loans in New Mexico: what you should know

Storefront loans (also widely known as “payday loans” or “short-term loans”) are notoriously predatory in nature. So much so that the New Mexico legislature took the extraordinary step of capping interest rates, demanding a minimum number of payments and extending the repayment period for this type of loan.

Whereas before, lenders charged upwards of 400-500 percent annual interest on the original loan amount, new limits prevent anything over 175 percent. Lenders previously kept people in a cycle of debt lasting years by forcing them to take out new loans – with new terms and fees – every time the loan became due, often within as little as one-to-two weeks. Now, the minimum loan term is 120 days. Loans prior to the passage of the law were typically due in one lump sum after only a few weeks, but new loans must have the total loan amount divided into at least four payments.

What is a creditors’ committee?

If you are a creditor, one thing that might fill you with worry is if a business that owes you money ends up in bankruptcy, such as Chapter 11 bankruptcy. You may worry about whether the debt will be repaid and whether your rights and interests will be protected during the bankruptcy process. These worries may be particularly strong if the debt you are owed isn’t backed by any collateral (known as unsecured debt).

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy process for businesses involves a business restructuring through a debt reorganization plan. The process contains certain safeguards aimed at protecting creditors. One of these is the unsecured creditors’ committee.

The future of commercial real estate in Albuquerque

It is no secret that New Mexico’s commercial real estate market has lagged behind other regions in the southwest when it comes to growth. However, performance with retail and multifamily housing is in line with historical averages. Because of this, it is increasingly important for entrepreneurs and real estate investors to carefully analyze the potential of real estate, particularly distressed properties in order to make sound business decisions.

A recent Commercial Property Executive report found that Albuquerque’s core submarkets are showing signs of growth, buoyed by job gains in the educational and health services markets. The region’s aging population means that the health care industry is poised to be the state’s primary driver in the job market.

How overdraft fees can get you into trouble

Of the annoying fees that banks charge for the “privilege” of accessing your money, overdraft fees are arguably the most nerve-wracking. Most banks charge $35.00 for each purchase that exceeds the amount currently in the account, on top of the actual cost of the offending purchase. So that $4.00 mocha frappuccino that overdrafts your account could cost upwards of $40.00.

A study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that these types of expenditures and fees are fairly common. They found that the fees associated with overdrafts are on purchases of less than $24.00.

What can you do after a judgment?

People embroiled in financial difficulties may have more to deal with than just past due credit card bills and the threat of foreclosure. They may also be tied up in lawsuits where the specter of a large judgment is present. Consumers in this situation may think that the judgment may ruin them forever, and that there is nothing that can be done to stop a plaintiff in a lawsuit from taking everything from them.

However, a judgment is merely a court order indicating that a party has the legal right to obtain the property or money that was the subject of the lawsuit. Essentially, it is only one step (of many) in the collection process. If you have heard the adage “a judgment may not be worth the paper that it is printed on” you may understand this fact. As such, debtors with judgments against them have several options.

To Whom Should You Ask Your Real Estate Questions?

Real estate agents and Realtors are very knowledgeable about many aspects of property. They often have insight on which neighborhoods are "hot," and which upgrades and home renovations yield the largest return on investment. They are also entitled to execute very limited legal functions, including preparing offers and preparing purchase agreements.

Basic steps in commercial property valuations

The basic tenet of real estate investing is to buy low and sell high. While that may seem simple enough, determining the actual worth of a property is not always easy. Several factors are in play, including the current state of the property, the extent of repairs or renovations required to make the property ready for the proposed use, as well as any zoning regulations that may affect the property.

Despite these factors, appraisers rely on three primary methods to establish the market value of a property. This post will briefly highlight them.

Secured debt and unsecured debt defined

If you are considering filing bankruptcy, you are probably concerned about what types of debt you may be entitled to eliminate or discharge. This is a common and legitimate concern. After all, if you are saddled with just as much debt after bankruptcy than before it, or if your standard of living is markedly worse than before bankruptcy,  it may not the best option for you.

Part of the help that you would need in deciding whether to seek bankruptcy protection is understanding the different types of debt and how they are classified under the bankruptcy code. Essentially, there are three categories: “secured debts,”  “unsecured debts,” and “priority debts.”

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