Elaborate: Will My Student Loan Forgiveness Be Taxed?

Jan 03, 2023 By Susan Kelly


Student loan debt is one of the young people's worst financial burdens. Student loan forgiveness can have a major impact on taxes. The amount forgiven may be considered taxable income, increasing the taxpayer's tax obligation. Some states may also consider forgiven student loan debt taxable income. Fortunately, student loan forgiveness programs are available in the United States to help alleviate this burden.

But you may be wondering: Will my student loan forgiveness be taxed? The answer to this question depends on several factors and is not a simple yes or no answer. In this article, we'll discuss the different types of student loan forgiveness, how they can affect your taxes and whether or not you need to pay taxes on any forgiven amount.

The Basics of Student Loan Forgiveness Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) generally considers student loan forgiveness taxable income. Therefore, any amount forgiven through programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Teacher Loan Forgiveness must be reported as income when filing taxes. Depending on the amount of loan forgiveness, this could increase your total tax burden or even push you into a higher income tax bracket. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, if you qualify for student loan discharge due to death or disability, the amount forgiven will not be considered taxable income by the IRS.

Strategies to Minimize Tax Burden

If your student loan balance is forgiven through PSLF or Teacher Loan Forgiveness, you can take certain steps to reduce your overall tax burden associated with this event. One option is to spread the amount of forgiveness over multiple years to keep it within an acceptable tax bracket. Another approach is to pay estimated taxes throughout the year so that you are not hit with a large tax bill at the end of the year. Finally, speak to your tax advisor about optimizing your deductions and credits to minimize your taxable income.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program was created for borrowers who work full-time for certain qualifying public service organizations. You may be eligible for loan forgiveness after ten years of on-time payments if you meet all the requirements. With PSLF, any remaining balance is completely forgiven, and the IRS does not tax it.

Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness

Income-driven repayment plans allow borrowers to make lower monthly payments based on their disposable income. Suppose you opt for an income-driven repayment plan and make consistent payments over a certain period (20 or 25 years, depending on your loan type). In that case, any remaining balance will be forgiven at the end of that period. However, this amount may be taxable, so it's important to understand how taxes come into play with these types of student loan forgiveness plans.

Tax Implications of Student Loan Forgiveness

The tax implications of student loan forgiveness vary depending on your loan type and the repayment plan you choose. Generally speaking, any amount forgiven under an income-driven repayment plan (including PSLF) is considered taxable income by the IRS. When filing yearly taxes, you must report it as part of your annual gross income. If your net income after deductions exceeds a certain threshold ($50,000 for single filers; $100,000 for married couples), you may be subject to additional taxes on this forgiven amount.

Alternatives to Taxed Forgiveness

If you're worried about taxing your student loan forgiveness, some alternatives can help you avoid this. For instance, some lenders offer programs that will partially or completely discharge your student loan debt if you meet certain criteria. These programs may include suing the lender for a settlement, enrolling in an employer-sponsored repayment plan, or consolidating and refinancing your loans. However, it's important to remember that any amount forgiven through these programs is still taxable, so make sure to factor this into your decision-making process.


Student loan forgiveness can greatly reduce your financial burden, but it's important to understand how taxes play into the equation. Depending on the type of forgiveness program you're enrolled in, the forgiven amount may be taxable income. Suppose you're worried about paying taxes on your student loan forgiveness. In that case, alternatives such as suing the lender for a settlement or refinancing and consolidating your loans are available. Be sure to do your research and understand all of the implications before making any decisions.

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