FAQs

Answers to questions you may have

DEBT AGREEMENT

  • If you have unsecured debts of over $8,000
  • Are struggling to make repayments and are in financial difficulty
  • Owe less than $109,000 in total unsecured debt
  • Have less than $109,000 equity in property
  • Earn less than $81,700 after Tax per year

Chances are you will qualify.

Only unsecured Debts up to a value of just over $109,000.

Examples of unsecured Debts are: Most Credit Cards, Personal Loans, Tax Debts, Insurance claims against you, Phone or old Rent from previous address', Store accounts.

Examples of a Secured Debt that you need to keep paying are Most Car, Bike, Boat Loans. Home loans and Rental Plans on Household Goods and Electronics. If a car is surrendered or repossessed the balance of the loan will then become unsecured. If you have sold the car or bike with out permission from the Lender you may not be able to unsecure the loan.

Debts that can't be put in a Debt Agreement are Traffic and Toll fines, Court Ordered Fraud Settlements or fines and Government Accumulated Help Debts.

Accumulated Help Debt includes any unpaid HECS HELP, FEE HELP, VET FEE HELP, OS HELP and SA-HELP debts.
Also includes any Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), Postgraduate Education Loan Scheme (PELS), Open Learning Deferred Payment Scheme (OLDPS) and Bridging for Overseas-Trained Professionals Loan Scheme (BOTPLS) debts you incurred before 2005. SRE Debts and 
Child maintenance arrears can be included but there are conditions. 

Any Tax you owe may be put into a Debt Agreement and the debt will be discharged at the end of the Debt Agreement.  However, the Tax department will keep any Tax Refunds you may receive during the Debt Agreement, until they have received all of their money. Typically not all of the Debts in a Debt Agreement are paid back in full and are written off at the end. The Tax Debt is no different, except that the Tax department is allowed to keep any Tax Refunds, to make up the shortfall during the Debt Agreement.  But if the Tax Debt has been generated via fraud and you have tried to deceive the Taxman, they may still pursue any balance owing after the Debt Agreement has been completed. Lately they seem to have been more active in this area. Here is an exact lift from the AFSA Government Department Website 02/09/16

"Debts relating to income tax and GST obligations are, if not incurred by fraud,  provable in debt agreements and released when debt agreements are completed.  This means that, in most cases, the Australian Taxation Office can vote and receive dividends in a debt agreement and cannot seek to recover the balance from the debtor after completion of the debt agreement. However, you should be aware that the Australian Taxation Office may, in certain circumstances, offset a tax refund that was due to you against a debt you owe the Commonwealth.

If you owe money to the Australian Taxation Office and this debt arose due to fraud, you will still need to repay the balance owing to the Australian Taxation Office when the debt agreement ends."

 

Yes. You can even be a Company Director

Yes, as long as all payments are maintained.

No. As long as creditors that control over half of your debt, agree to the debt agreement the balance of creditors must comply with the government lodged agreement.

You do not have to tell your boss or your partner. However if you are planning to refinance a house or similar or you have joint loans, it will be better to discuss this with your partner.

Your Debt Agreement will be listed on your Credit Report, one day from approval and for a period of 5 Years. After this point it will drop off and give you the opportunity to have a fresh start.

Being on a credit report will limit your ability to borrow additional money during this period. If you work in an Industry where your credit rating may be an issue (eg: Banking or Finance and in some States Real Estate Licensees or holders of Building Licenses) it may be better to discuss other options).

A part IX Debt Agreement is designed to prevent you having to declare Bankrupt. It is designed as a simple way to get out of a Difficult Financial Situation without doing too much Damage.

It will restrict you from borrowing money for the period of the debt agreement.

It will appear on your credit file for 5 years and 1 day and then disappear if you have completed your payment plan.

Because a Debt Agreement prevents any further Debt Defaults from before the Debt Agreement completion date, being put back on your credit file, it will allow your Credit File to be reset clean at the end of the 5 year period. Of course if you don't pay other debts like phones and electricity bills they will still default on your report.

The Debts will be locked into a set amount and your only obligation is to pay the payment plan you have agreed to, at which point your obligation ends.

If you pay your Debt Agreement out early, you can then look at borrowing money again or even applying for a home loan if you have been able to save some money. But be aware there are still difficulties until it drops completely from your credit File. You may have to look outside a bank for finance (Talk to Fast Debt Help for options) and there may be a higher Interest Rate or bigger Deposit required.

You will keep your Major Assets including the family home and cars. Contact Fast Debt Help to confirm current Thresholds that you can keep and still qualify.

A Part IX Debt Agreement is designed to help you avoid Bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy makes it more difficult to borrow money, even after the bankruptcy has been terminated.

  • You will not be able to be a Company Director.
  • Any Overseas travel may be restricted and you may have to surrender your passport.
  • Any Major Assets have a much lower threshold before being put towards your debt.
  • You will have to complete an income assessment every year.
  • You will be required to pay 50% of your income after tax if you earn over a certain amount. This will vary according to your number of Dependants.

See Australian Financial Security Authority or contact us here at Fast Debt Help for current amounts and a more detailed explanation.

Any Windfalls you may have such as Tax Returns, Inheritances or Termination Payments will be included in this income.

For more information on Bankruptcy, see the Bankruptcy Assistance section.

If your Debts, Income or Asset levels are too high to qualify for a Part IX Debt Agreement, Fast Debt Help will look to organise an Informal Debt Arrangement.

This could still generally help you out of a difficult financial situation. You could still have one payment per pay period to an administrator and in many instances we may still be able to freeze the interest.

The objective is to get you into a position with a payment plan that can get you out of Debt and back in control.

This can be used as short-term solutions or as a permanent arrangement.

The Short Answer is Yes.
But be aware you must start paying back the Debt when your income reaches the compulsory repayment threshold. This will be handled by the Tax Department and will be payable whether you are currently bankrupt or not.

For more information please refer to the Australian Financial Security Authority site.

INFORMAL ARRANGEMENTS

Debt Agreements are controlled by government legislation while Informal Arrangements are not.

Once Debt Agreements are approved, all creditors must adhere to the term. With Informal Arrangement, each creditor must be happy with the offer before they will accept it. However, most Creditors will normally come to an arrangement.

If you are in a career that may be affected by your credit rating, or you are outside the government thresholds that allow for Debt Agreements, or you think your circumstances may change for the better in the short term, then an Informal Arrangement is a very good option.

You will need to maintain the regular minimum repayments to that creditor.

Unlike a Debt Agreement, there is not an entry on your Credit File that says you are in an Informal Arrangement with your Creditors. As long as you keep up with your repayments according to any arrangement made you shouldn't get a default from your debt. However if there is already a default on your credit rating for that debt, it does not remove it. It will not prevent a creditor putting a default on your credit file if you miss payments. However they must go through the correct process to do so.

As long as you can make an acceptable offer of payments to your creditors, there are no restrictions on the amount.

Generally the same debts as with a Debt Agreement, so just about any kind of unsecured debt can be included. Some common examples are credit cards, personal loans and tax debts. Also repossessed cars, debts to friends and relatives and Debt Collectors. If someone will agree to a payment plan it can go in.

An informal arrangement is quite often the best way to handle debts to people you know, as the repayments can be quiet flexible.

Yes, joint debts are particularly suited to Informal Arrangements. Generally a deal can be put in place that handles the situation for both parties. It is important to figure out both you and your partner’s financial situation when doing this.

Direct debit accounts are typically set up to allow you to make one lump sum or regular ongoing payments into a Trust Account. The Administrator will then distribute the money to all of your creditors on your behalf.

Yes. There are no restrictions on travel.

Yes you can. There are no restrictions on running a business or being a Company Director.

NON CONFORMING HOME LOANS

Most banks will not lend against your home if you have defaults on your credit file, you owe money for Tax, you haven't paid your rates or other bills are running late.

Even though once you consolidate your loans everything is more affordable, they consider this too big a risk to refinance you.

A company that will refinance your debts and take that risk into consideration is said to be offering a Non Conforming Home Loan.

The Interest rate is determined by the risk the Lender has taken to approve your loan. The amount of loans that default when people have experienced financial troubles is considerably higher than normal, and the interest rate reflects the risk involved. Even if you have perfect credit a bank may still charge a higher interest rate for loans they deem to be riskier. Those advertised extra low interest rates are only available to a very select perfect situation on residential property. Quite often it is not that much higher than you may have been able to get anyway.

No! If you make the repayments promptly and on time for a couple of years, (sometimes earlier) we will look at refinancing you into the best rate available at the time. A Non Conforming Loan should just be a transition period for you to get into a better position. As circumstances improve so will your ability to get lower interest rates. This applies to clean credit finance as well.

While the Interest rate is a little bit higher than a normal Home Loan it can be considerably cheaper than a car loan, credit cards or other debts. The consolidation of debts over a longer period of time should drop your repayments substantially on what you are making now. This will put you into a much better financial position for your day to day living expenses.

Also if your debts are running late, you need to address the situation before it escalates into a mess. We are obliged to make sure the refinancing of your debts, puts you in a much better and more secure financial position than before. This can quite often mean the difference between keeping your home or losing everything.

You will need to have good equity in your home, (generally in excess of 20%) and the income to make the new repayments and meet your normal household expenses.

You will need to be able to show that you have been making payments to what you can afford.

BANKRUPTCY

  1. Creditors can apply for a garnishee of your wages, leaving you little money to live on.
  2. If your creditors are aware you have any assets such as a car, boat or house they may force you into bankruptcy, so that they can collect the proceeds from the sale of your assets.
  3. Your credit file may continue to be adversely affected by creditors listing unpaid defaults and judgments 
Yes. Your application may be rejected if it appears that: 1. You are likely to be able to pay the debts. 2. You are avoiding payment of a particular debt(s). 3. You have been bankrupt previously.

You are eligible to present a debtor’s petition for bankruptcy if you are in Australia or have an Australian connection (eg you do not usually live in Australia or carry on business in Australia).

No. You can become bankrupt voluntarily owing any amount.

You should make contact with your trustee without delay. If you are unsure who your trustee is, contact AFSA and quote the court reference number that is on the sequestration order.

Your trustee will be able to provide you with information and answer your questions. You must cooperate with your trustee and provide information upon request. Failure to cooperate with your trustee is an offence under the Bankruptcy Act. You must complete and file a statement of affairs form within fourteen days of being notified of your bankruptcy.

1. Your assets may be sold. You will be able to keep ordinary household goods, tools (up to a certain value) used to earn an income and a vehicle (up to a certain value) but other assets – including your house – can be sold by your trustee. You cannot conceal, remove or dispose of any property inside or outside Australia. If you do, you may be subject to criminal prosecution.

2. Your income, employment and business may be affected if your income exceeds a certain limit. You may be required to make contributions from your income. You cannot be a director of and/or manage a company. Some professional/licensing bodies may restrict or prevent you from continuing in that trade or profession. You may not be able to hold certain public positions. If you are in business and trade under a business name different to your own, you must tell everyone you deal with that you are bankrupt. If you don’t, you may be subject to criminal prosecution. Whilst you are bankrupt you will be prohibited from managing a company, without the permission of a court.

3. You may not be released from all debts. You are released from most of your unsecured debts (eg credit cards, personal loans, store cards) once you are discharged from bankruptcy. Some types of debts are not covered by bankruptcy e.g. penalties, fines and child support debts. Further, if a debt that is covered by the bankruptcy is found to have been incurred by fraud, then you will still owe the balance remaining upon discharge. If a debt is secured against an asset (eg a mortgage on a house or car) and you do not maintain repayments, that creditor can repossess and sell the asset; however any shortfall between the mortgage amount and the sale price will be covered by your bankruptcy.

4. Your ability to travel overseas will be affected. You will not be able to travel overseas without the written permission of the trustee and you may be asked to surrender your passport to the trustee. If your bankruptcy is administered by the Official Trustee you will be required to pay an overseas travel application fee.

5. Your ability to obtain future credit will be affected. You may find it hard to borrow money and buy things on credit. You may find it hard to rent, get electricity, water or the telephone connected without paying a bond. Some banks may not let you operate an account or may restrict how you can use your account. If you obtain credit above a certain amount you must tell the supplier that you are bankrupt.

A trustee is appointed to administer the bankruptcy. The duties of a trustee are specified in legislation and trustees have to adhere to certain standards while administering your estate. In order to pay creditors, your trustee will:  sell your assets, including those you acquire or become entitled to during your bankruptcy (although you will be able to keep certain types of assets) recover any income you earn over a certain limit, investigate your financial affairs and may, in certain circumstances, recover property that you have transferred to someone else prior to your bankruptcy. You can choose to appoint a registered trustee by obtaining and providing their consent when you lodge your petition to become bankrupt. If you do not choose a trustee, AFSA becomes your trustee and may arrange for a registered trustee to be appointed. Otherwise, AFSA is initially appointed to administer your estate. Your creditors may choose to change the trustee at any time. If you are made bankrupt involuntarily, the court will appoint a trustee at the time of making the sequestration order.

For more information please refer to the Australian Financial Security Authority site

SMALL BUSINESS AND COMPANY DEBTS

In most cases we have found that it is best to wind up the company first, so that any personal guarantees and debts that may end up as a personal debt are accounted for and dealt with.

This minimises problems that can arise from closing down a company.

In most cases we will have business partners that will work in conjunction with us to help small business and companies in trouble. It can be surprising what options are available.

DISPUTES AND CLAIMS

If you are not happy with the service provided by Fast Debt Help, Please contact our Dispute Resolution manager on (02) 4369 6287 or email Lea@fastdebthelp.com.au

It is our policy to confirm receipt of your complaint within one working day and have a resolution within three to seven days.

If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint, you have the option to contact:

  • Credit & Investment Ombudsman (CIO)  Tel 1800 138 422
  • Financial Ombudsman Service Australia (M-F, 9am-5pm)  Tel 1300 780 808

If appropriate, we may also refer Home Loan Disputes to FAST (Financial and Systems Technology Pty Ltd) our Finance Aggregator, for independent consideration or input.