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Wallstreet Esq.
Wallstreet Esq., Tax Attorney
Category: Tax
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Experience:  10 years experience
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I have graduate school loans and wanted to know what is the

Customer Question

I have graduate school loans and wanted to know what is the best way to pay off my loans, if an overseas relative wants to refinance both my Stafford and Direct Plus Loans at 0%. I will be paying the relative back once I regain employment and plan to pay the amount back in full eventually. The relative says I do not have to pay the amount back. Should I make large balloon payments to pay off the loan or should I spread the payments out over a certain time frame? I want to choose the method that has the least taxes. To my understanding I can only be gifted up to $5 million during my lifetime without being taxed. How is this determined if I receive a monetary gift from a non-US citizen?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  emc011075 replied 8 months ago.

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

First, you can receive unlimited gifts, it is the donor who is limited to 5.43M, not the receiver. The gift tax, if any is always paid by the donor, never by the receiver of the gift.

If you receive more than 100K from a foreign donor, you will have report it to the IRS. It is for informational purposes only, no gift tax to be paid. The gift will not even show up on your 1040.

You can only deduct student loan interest you pay to a financial institution. If your relative pays of your student loans and you pay your relative, you will not be able to deduct it. You can deduct up to 4K of student loan interest annually, but if you can pay it off in one lump sum, by all means do it. Financially it does not make sense to keep a huge loan to because of tax deduction.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I have $130K in debt. If I decide not to pay it back due to financial stress, or If I decide to stop payments to my relative at anytime, I will not obligated to pay the full amount back. If my relative ends up paying it, he will transfer money into my name. I will still be making payments directly from my US bank account to the financial institution (Great Lakes). Should I spread the payments over 1 year to get the tax deduction of 3-4k back (is this worth it?) or would you advise to pay it off all in one lump sum? Or, If I split the 130k payment over 2 years, will I have to report it to the IRS? What would you advise?
Expert:  emc011075 replied 8 months ago.

A deduction will only reduce your taxable income. 4000K deduction can generate $400 refund in 10% tax bracket, $600 refund in 15% tax bracket and $1000 in 25% tax bracket.

You will have to pay 4K interest to receive $400 - $1000 refund. That's the reason why it does not make sense to prolong your loan repayment. A deduction does not equal a refund.

What do you mean with "If I split the 130k payment over 2 years, will I have to report it to the IRS?" The IRS doesn't care if you claim your deductions you are entitled to. You are only allowed to claim the interest. Loan payments does not need to be reported to the IRS.