Is my loan forgiven or cancelled? The difference can be expensive!

The term forgiveness is thrown around pretty freely for loan servicing.  In fact so much so that I believe sometimes it misrepresents the facts.  This may seem like a nuance argument but let us go over the difference between if your loan is forgiven or cancelled.

The difference has to do with whether this removal of debt will be taxable the following year.  As we have covered before if your income is taxable, it can leave you with an unexpected amount due to the IRS the following tax season and the amount you owe is based on your tax rate (which may raise depending on the amount of cancelled debt).

If your debt is forgiven there are no tax implications.  Forgiveness is as the word applies, it is pure and simple 100% gone.  If the debt is cancelled that means it is taxable.  Cancelled debt according to the IRS is what becomes taxable income the following year.

Teacher and Public Service Loan Forgiveness are forgiven.  When your loans are discharged due to disability, school closure, death, after 20 or 25 years on an IDR plan, etc then this loan is considered to be cancelled.  While the linguistics of it may seem trivial the impact it can make on your pocket is far from it!