Tax Deductions for Default Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Tax Deductions: Are Unpaid Loans Tax Deductible?

John loaned his friend Jack $1,000. Jack did not repay the debt and left town. John wants to know if he can claim any tax deduction, and, if so, what is the character of the deduction? However, to answer John's question, one must first find out more information about the nature of the loan. This is critical because there are two broad types of loans and debts: business loans and personal loans. Furthermore, under the correct circumstances, it is possible for people to take tax deductions for certain types of business loans and personal loans. Knowing whether John made Jack a loan from his personal money or from his business money is the crucial first step in determining which, if any, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations or tax laws will permit John to deduct the unpaid debt.

If John is a business owner and made the loan to Jack through his business, he may be able to qualify the loan as a business loan. Generally, business debts arise through the conduct of one's business. Therefore, if Jack is, in addition to John's friend, a business associate of his, this provision may apply. Some examples of business bad debts include: loans to clients or suppliers, credit sales to customer, or business loan guarantees (IRS, 2013). However, a client who has failed to pay for a service does not count as a bad debt, because for money to be considered a bad debt, it must have been loaned and lent. "A business deducts its bad debts from gross income when figuring its taxable income. Business bad debts may be deducted in part or in full. You can claim a business bad debt using either the specific charge-off method or the nonaccrual-experience method" (IRS, 2013).

The more likely scenario is that Jack is simply a friend of John's and that the loan was a personal one that had nothing to do with John's business. Even if the loan was made so that Jack could engage in his business, the test is whether it was related to John's business. Therefore, it would probably qualify as a nonbusiness debt. As the name implies, nonbusiness debts arise from nonbusiness or personal activities. Generally, money lent to friends or others for any purposes other than a business in which the lender actively participates will be considered a nonbusiness debt (Fishman, 2013).

Once it has been determined that the loan is a non-business loan, there are several requirements that one must meet in order to deduct it from one's taxes. It must be a legitimate loan. It must have been in cash. Finally, the loan must be worthless. Unless all three of these conditions apply, John will not be permitted to deduct the amount of his loan to Jack.

It appears that John meets the requirement of a legitimate loan. A loan differs from a gift in the expectation that it will be repaid; if money is lent with an understanding that repayment is optional, then it is a gift and does not qualify. It appears that John lent Jack the money with the belief that Jack would repay the loan. Therefore, at least at first glance, it appears that it is a legitimate loan. However, John may run into a hurdle when trying to prove the legitimacy of the loan. Generally, to prove that a debt is valid, there should be a written promissory note signed by the borrower. "The note should set forth the amount of the loan; the collateral, if any;…

Sources Used in Document:


Bailey, A.C. (2014). Unpaid personal loans can reduce your tax bill. Retrieved April 12, 2014

from MyTaxHQ website:

Fishman, S. (2013, June 7). Bad loans to friends and family may be tax deductible. Retrieved April 11, 2014 from Inman News website:

Internal Revenue Service. (2013, December 12). Topic 453- Bad debt deduction. Retrieved April 12, 2014 from IRS website:

Cite This Research Paper:

"Tax Deductions For Default" (2014, April 12) Retrieved July 6, 2020, from

"Tax Deductions For Default" 12 April 2014. Web.6 July. 2020. <>

"Tax Deductions For Default", 12 April 2014, Accessed.6 July. 2020,