Even when tax season is over, you’re never fully done with preparing your paperwork. You’ll always need to have the most up-to-date forms of your income and assets. Over the course of the year, you may wonder if what you borrow could impact your tax return.

If you borrow a personal loan to consolidate debt, cover an emergency, launch a business or any other reason, that loan could impact your tax return and possibly influence your refund. If you get a personal loan income tax does not usually come into play, but there are exceptions.

Are personal loans taxable income?

Most of the time, borrowing a personal loan won’t affect your taxes since it’s a loan with the intention of being repaid. Your income — the money you earn through your job, side-hustle, or investments, for example — is considered taxable.

Even though you can take out a personal loan to cover anything, like an emergency or consolidate debt, you aren’t earning money from your personal loan. Because it’s not income, your personal loan isn’t taxable.

Canceled loans

If you make payments as scheduled without any issues, that means you’re on time with your payments. But if there’s ever a point where your loan gets fully or partially canceled, like through bankruptcy, you’ll receive a 1099-C tax form from your lender that issued the cancelation of debt. You’ll only get this if the lender cancels $600 or more of your personal loan.

If any part of your debt was canceled, that means you didn’t pay it back, which means it’s then considered income. At this point, the amount is considered cancellation of debt (COD) income. You’ll be required to pay taxes on the canceled amount. Keep in mind that this doesn’t affect what you did pay back, if any at all.

There’s a chance a personal loan lender can forgive a loan and consider it a gift by the lender. In this instance, you’re not on the hook for the forgiven amount since a gift has its own tax stimulations through estate and gift tax. This won’t impact your tax return unless more than $16,000 is forgiven.

Are personal loan payments tax deductible?

The payments you make on a personal loan are not tax deductible. For the most part, people borrow personal loans for personal issues or needs. So, those personal loan payments can’t be deducted from your taxes.

If you do use the personal loan for business purposes, you will need to itemize those deductions when doing your business taxes. For business purposes, you may be able to deduct interest paid on the part of the loan that went to business expenses.   

Is interest on a personal loan tax deductible?

You might already benefit from other loan tax deductions on interest for your mortgage or student loans. In most cases, the interest payments on personal loans aren’t tax-deductible.

If you borrow a personal loan and use any portion of it for business expenses, you might be able to deduct the interest paid on that part of your personal loan. For instance, if you used any of that personal loan to cover business expenses like office equipment or a vehicle you use only for your business, you’d need to itemize your deductions to report what portion of the loan went towards those business expenses.

Do I have to report a personal loan on my taxes?

In most instances, you don’t need to report a personal loan on your taxes since it’s not considered income, as the IRS does not tax personal loans themselves. However, if any part of your loan gets canceled, you’ll need to report the amount that got canceled as income because it’s the amount you were given and it didn’t get paid back.

If you used any of your loan for business expenses, however, you can note that in your itemized deductions on your tax return.

Do personal loans affect credit score?

When you complete a personal loan application, it creates a hard credit check on your credit report. This causes your score to temporarily drop. But as you start making on-time payments on your loan, that drop will rebound.

If you fall behind on payments, like if you’re late or miss payments entirely, your credit score will continue to drop. A low credit score can hurt your chances of borrowing in the future, whether that’s another personal loan or credit card. It also hurts your borrowing opportunities for other products, like taking out a mortgage or auto loan. A low credit score tells lenders you aren’t responsible with credit.

What happens if you don’t report a 1099-C?

The IRS considered canceled debt income because you didn’t repay a loan you originally agreed to pay back. If you received a cancelation of debt from your personal loan lender through a 1099-C form, the IRS received a copy of that form, too. You might be able to avoid paying taxes on the forgiven amount if you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This filing means you’re no longer responsible for the debt.

Bottom line

The IRS generally does not consider personal loans taxable, as these loans do not count as income. However, if you had a loan canceled, that may count as taxable income. Also, if you used any part of the loan on business expenses, you may be able to deduct that potion of the interest. But tax laws do change regularly, so you’ll want to consult a certified public accountant, a tax preparer or a tax advisor who is well-versed in the most recent updates.