Growing Momentum for DebtFreeTaxFree Movement
In our efforts to bring you the latest updates on things that might impact your financial life, we may occasionally enter the political fray, covering candidates, bills, laws and more.
Please note: SoFi does not endorse or take official positions on any candidates and the bills they may be sponsoring or proposing. We may occasionally support legislation that we believe would also support our members (like now!), but we will be transparent about it when we do. Our reporting otherwise is for informational purposes only, and shouldn’t be construed as an endorsement.
On September 25, 2019, SoFi headed to Washington DC as part of the DebtFreeTaxFree Coalition, where like-minded organizations expressed support for House of Representatives bill, H.R. 1043 / Senate bill, S. 460 . Because these bills are so similar, support was being given to either/or, with SoFi’s general counsel Rob Lavet serving as our Capitol Hill representative.
Organizations met with 21 Congressional offices that day, meeting seven Congress members directly, to share stories about how this legislation could positively impact people in the United States who have student loan debt.
On that day, three more members of the House added their support and signatures to the H.R. bill—with more signing after that day—bringing the total number of signatures to 189 on the House bill and 46 on the Senate bill, making it a total of 235 members of Congress who support one of these bills.
The momentum is real. Here’s more about what’s been happening, along with how you can help.
Last month, we provided an overview of the two bills being supported by the DebtFreeTaxFree Coalition. The goal of this legislation is to allow employers to offer programs that help pay down employee student loan debt, without employers or employees incurring a greater tax burden; if passed, employers would be able to provide $5,250 annually per employee, tax-free, in tuition assistance or student loan repayment.
As momentum is increasing, what’s happening on Capitol Hill may ultimately have a major impact on a company and its HR professionals, as well as to employees with student loan debt.
If one of these bills passes, it could open up a window to a whole new world of financial wellness benefits that employers can offer to attract, engage, and retain talent without the current tax-related consequences. Employees who find relief from their student loan debt burden may be able to start saving more and otherwise become more financially healthy.
How You Can Participate
For this important legislation to continue to move forward, members of Congress must hear from employers about the reasons why they want to offer these benefits to their employees. From our work together, we know that when employees can reduce their debt, start to save, and become more financially healthy in part via a voluntary benefit program, it can create the potential to benefit employee and employer alike.
That said, the merits of each of these bills are not always obvious to lawmakers who have many other important bills on the table. So it could help a lot to hear from employers AND employees. When the next spending package comes before Congress, they’ll need to prioritize what to include. Your support could help to get one of these bills front and center, or possibly included in that spending package.
Steps can include:
• Employers can let employees with student debt know that they can sign this DebtFreeTaxFree petition ; each signature is another voice saying, “Don’t tax my benefits!” While signing the petition, there is a box where each employee can share his or her unique student loan debt story. There are thousands of signatures on this petition from people around the country, and every single one matters.
• Employers can also contact their representatives to share support for these bills and describe how and why having the ability to offer tax-free student loan debt assistance could help their companies.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to add financial wellness benefits to your employees’ benefit package, or have questions about the process, please email us at [email protected].
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