By Howard Abrams, PBS Tax & Bookkeeping
Q. I am currently a company driver in the process of becoming an owner-operator. I am trying to arrange financing for the purchase of my equipment, but have been notified of a ding on my credit report. I know this is an error as everything is in good standing. What can I do?
A. You must notify the credit bureaus since they must investigate all items in question usually within 30 days. The CRA (consumers reporting agencies) will notify the creditor that reported the information of the dispute. If the creditor finds the disputed information to be inaccurate, they must notify all nationwide CRAs so they can correct your files.
Hints for correcting errors
- Contact the creditor first to request they send corrected information to the credit bureaus.
- If you are unable to get the creditor to correct the error, write a letter to the credit bureau.
- Make a copy of your credit report and identify each item you feel is incorrect.
- Write a “dispute” letter listing each disputed item and why. Request that the item be corrected, updated or deleted (whatever the case may be). Enclose copies of any supporting documentation you have to support your claim. Request an investigation into the matter as soon as possible. Also request that the letter be made a permanent part of your credit record.
- Send a copy to each credit bureau and to the creditor.
- Send everything certified, return receipt, to document that the materials are received.
- Keep copies of all correspondence and documentation for yourself. Do not send originals.
Also, any disputed information that cannot be verified must be deleted from your file.
Q.OK. But time is of the essence. How can I speed the process up?
A. After notifying the CRAs, you need to find any proof you may have showing the payment to the creditor and get that information to the bureaus. Also, show any proof of payment to the company doing your financing.
In the future, to prevent this from happening to you, you are entitled to review your credit at any time. Do so periodically to find any problems so it’s clear sailing when your financing need arises.
When the investigation is complete, the CRAs must give you written results and a free copy of your credit report if the dispute results in a change. You may also request that the CRAs send notices of corrections to anyone who received your credit report in the past six months.
Q. I decided to start collecting my Social Security since I am 67 years old and at full retirement age. As I will continue to work, I couldn’t believe it when you told me I would still have to pay self-employment tax on my trucking business. I have paid into Social Security my whole working life. Why?
A. Anyone who continues working while collecting their Social Security must still pay into the system. I know that does not seem fair but that’s the way it is. Not only that, but all or a portion of your Social Security income will be subject to federal income tax depending on the amount of your total income.
There is good news. Your monthly checks will increase some if your current earnings are higher than in your earlier years. LL
This article is written by PBS Tax & Bookkeeping Service, a company that has been providing income tax and bookkeeping services to the trucking industry for more than a quarter-century. If you would like further information, please contact PBS at 800-697-5153 or visit their website at pbstax.com.
Please remember everyone's financial situation is different. This article does not give and is not intended to give specific accounting and/or tax advice. Please consult with your own tax or accounting professional.