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Tax Guide 2013 for LendingClub and Prosper 1099 Forms

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Updated 2014. I’ve gotten a few tax-filing questions regarding P2P lenders Prosper Lending and Lending Club. For tax year 2013, LendingClub provided individual investors extra guidance with their Tax Guide for Retail Investors [pdf]. Using this information, I have updated this post.

Don’t file too early. My first recommendation is to not print out or download any of your 1099s until mid-March. Both Prosper and LendingClub seem to regularly issue corrected and/or amended 1099 forms with new numbers late in February. If you already printed them out earlier, go back and make sure they haven’t been changed. After having to file an amended return a few years ago, I always wait until after mid-March to gather all my tax documents.

Where to find your tax documents. I don’t think either Prosper or Lendingclub sends you 1099 forms in the mail. The easiest way for me to direct you to these documents is for you to cut-and-paste the following URLs into your web browser and then log into your accounts. Here are screenshots of what the pages should look like for Prosper and LendingClub.

https://www.prosper.com/secure/account/common/statements.aspx

https://www.lendingclub.com/account/taxDocuments.action

Tax disclaimer. I am not a tax professional. The following is based on my best attempt at understanding the fuzzy world of P2P lending taxes. I am simply sharing how I’m going to do my personal tax return, but you should consult a tax professional for an expert opinion. You may not get all or most of these forms.

LendingClub

LendingClub 1099-OID. OID stands for original issue discount. The total of Box 1 is basically what LendingClub is reporting as the interest earned on your loans, net of fees. This interest should be reported on Schedule B and taxed as ordinary interest income (similar to interest from bank accounts).

LendingClub 1099-B (Recoveries for Charge-offs). If you had any loans charged-off*, but they still recovered some money later on, that will be reported here. It should be broken down into either short-term or long-term capital gains. Because it already tells me short-term or long-term, I will simply report the totals with acquisition and sell date(s) as “various”.

LendingClub 1099-B (Folio secondary market). If you sold any loans on the secondary Folio market, then the sales should be reported here. It should also be broken down into either short-term or long-term gains or losses. I will simply report the totals on Schedule D, using my acquisition and sell date(s) as “various”.

LendingClub 1099-MISC. I would just type this form into TurboTax box-by-box or submit directly to your accountant, usually under “Other Income”. Box 7 amounts will be subject to self-employment taxes, Box 3 amounts will not.

Prosper Lending

Prosper 1099-OID. Similar story to the LendingClub 1099-OID above, except they just give you the total from all your loans. Again, I have all zeros except for Box 1, which I will report as ordinary interest income on Schedule B.

Prosper 1099-B (Recoveries for Charge-offs). Again, anything listed here should be broken down into either short-term or long-term capital gains/losses and recorded on Schedule D. Prosper includes loan charge-offs on this form.

Prosper 1099-B (Folio secondary market). Again, anything listed here should also be broken down into either short-term or long-term gains or losses.

Prosper 1099-MISC. I would just type this form into TurboTax box-by-box or submit directly to your accountant, and it should be pretty straightforward. Box 7 amounts will be subject to self-employment taxes, Box 3 amounts will not.

*Reporting Charge-offs

If you have loans that were charged-off in 2013 (loan is very late and attempts to collect have failed, so they give up), you can write them off as a non-business bad debt. You can find these in either your year-end statements (LendingClub) or your 1099-B form (Prosper). These are all treated as short-term capital losses, which you can use to offset short-term capital gains from other investments or you can deduct against up to $3,000 in ordinary income per year (with the balance carrying forward to the next year).

More resources: Let me also recommend Peter Renton’s post at LendAcademy, the follow-up comments on that post, and this forum post by AmCap as good references for an intelligent discussion on the topic. Also see the LendingClub and Prosper tax pages, even though they aren’t especially helpful.

Prosper vs. LendingClub Investor Experiment: 15.5 Month Update

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After posting the 1-year update (Part 1, Part 2) of my Beat-The-Market experiment back on November, I got bored. I had started with $10,000 split evenly between Prosper Lending and Lending Club, but although this alternative asset class had potential, I just didn’t find it reliable enough for me to invest significant funds in it.

I didn’t sell off my existing loans, but I stopped reinvesting in new ones. I hadn’t logged into either account for months, but this week I wanted to download my tax documents. So, I figured another update was in order, 3.5 months later.

$5,000 LendingClub Portfolio. As of February 19th, 2014, the LendingClub portfolio had 199 current and active loans, 36 loans that were paid off early, and none in funding. 6 loans are between 1-30 days late. 8 loans are between 31-120 days late, which I will assume to be unrecoverable. 7 loans have been charged off ($152 in principal). $1,814 in uninvested cash. Total adjusted balance is $5,305. This is only $1 higher than 3.5 months ago.

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$5,000 Prosper Portfolio. My Prosper portfolio now has 185 current and active loans, 56 loans that were paid off early or payoff in progress, and none in funding. 4 loans are between 1-30 days late. 10 are over 30 days late, which to be conservative I am also going to write off completely (~$183 in remaining principal). 14 have been charged-off ($302 in principal). $1,619 in uninvested cash. Total adjusted balance is $5,255. This is $45 less than 3.5 months ago.

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What has happened since my last check-in on November 1st?

  1. My total adjusted balance is $10,560, which is a $44 drop over the last 3.5 months. Even with the increase in idle cash, my total balances should still be inching up, not down. It appears that an increasing number of late and defaulting loans are starting to catch up to me.
  2. My idle cash balance across both accounts has increased by $1,527 in just 3.5 months, indicating an increasing number of early loan payoffs and thus fewer people paying me 10% interest rates.
  3. Prosper is currently doing worse relatively than LendingClub. This could change again in the future. Here’s an updated chart tracking the LendingClub and Prosper adjusted balances over these past 15.5 months:
    1402_pr_lc

I suppose that I’ll hang onto these loans and see how the rest unfolds. I know that other people report 10%+ annual returns on Prosper and Lending Club and may be better loan pickers than me, but I still be wary setting such high expectations for the average P2P investor. I’m still in the black and doing okay, but I wouldn’t count your chickens until the loans get a bit more mature.

$30,000 Beat-the-Benchmark Experiment – One Year Update, Prosper and LendingClub

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After posting Part 1 yesterday, here is Part 2 of my Beat-The-Market experiment one-year update. In order to test out P2P lending, I started with $10,000 split evenly between Prosper Lending and Lending Club, and went to work lending other people money and earning interest with an 8% target net return.

I tried to keep these portfolios comparable in terms of risk level, while still trying to maximize overall return net of defaults. I reinvested any new money from interest and early loan payoffs regularly for the first several months, but recently I stopped reinvesting my money as aggressively as I was thinking about selling everything (also LendingClub inventory was a little sparse at times). I ended up with $1,044 of idle cash at LendingClub and $862 at Prosper. More on that later.

$5,000 LendingClub Portfolio. As of November 1st, 2013, the LendingClub portfolio had 218 current and active loans, 28 loans that were paid off early, and none in funding. Two loans are between 1-30 days late. 6 loans ($126) are between 31-120 days late, which I will assume to be unrecoverable. Three loans have been charged off ($69, two A-rated and one C-rated). $1,044 in uninvested cash. Total adjusted for late loans is $5,304.


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LendingClub and Prosper vs. High Yield Junk Bonds

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Yesterday, I posted a 9-month update on my $10,000 P2P lending portfolio with loans from Prosper and LendingClub. Every so often it is pointed out that lending unsecured money directly to random people at high interest is not very safe, and you could just invest in junk bonds from shakier companies instead.

“Junk” bonds, also known as High Yield bonds, are bonds from companies which have earned a credit rating from one of the major rating agencies that is worse than the “investment-grade” tier. Perhaps the company already has a lot of debt, or its balance sheet is otherwise worrisome. Bonds from some pretty big and well-known companies have been rated junk from time to time.

This is not a detailed analysis and not even technically an apples-to-apples comparison, but I ran some quick numbers to satisfy my own curiosity. The iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) is the largest high yield US corporate bond ETF, with over $15 billion in assets and an expense ratio of 0.50%. Here’s a chart of the credit rating breakdown of the portfolio, taken from their latest Q2 2013 factsheet.

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LendingClub vs. Prosper Loan Performance Comparison, 9-Month Update

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I invested $10,000 into person-to-person loans in November 2012, split evenly between LendingClub and Prosper. It’s been a little over 9 months since then, so I wanted to give a detailed update in addition to my brief monthly updates. The primary goal of this portfolio is to earn a target return of 8-10% net of defaults, but I also wanted to see if there were significant differences between the two competitors Prosper and LendingClub.

I’m also considering liquidating both portfolios after 12 months have passed. I’m getting a little bored with the experiment, and having to sell the loans would also allow me to compare the ease of selling either company’s loans on the secondary market.

Portfolio Credit Quality Comparison

I wanted to keep these portfolios comparable in terms of risk level, while still trying to maximize overall return net of defaults. Peter Renton of LendAcademy made this helpful chart comparing estimated defaults rates with their respective credit grades. Since each company has their own proprietary credit grading formula, they don’t match up perfectly.

Here’s my portfolio breakdown:

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$10,000 P2P LendingClub & Prosper Loan Portfolio Update – April 2013

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Here’s the April 2013 update for my peer-to-peer lending portfolio, the last of three “real money” portfolios being tracked monthly as part of my Beat the Market Experiment. See also the $10,000 Benchmark and $10,000 Speculative portfolio updates.

For this one, I started with $10,000 split evenly between Prosper Lending and Lending Club, and went to work lending other people money and earning interest with an 8% target net return. So it’s also a race-within-a-race to see which option offers the best returns.

$5,000 LendingClub Loan Portfolio. Below is a screenshot of my LendingClub account as of 4/1/13. I’ve had loans at LC before, but sold them all on the secondary market and started fresh for this tracking experiment. Here are screenshots of my total balance and my portfolio details. I would say my overall risk level is moderate-conservative with mostly A and B rated loans (top two grades).


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The portfolio is now 5 months old, with 208 currently active loans, 9 loans that were paid off early, and 5 in funding. Two of the active loans are currently between 31-120 days late, which according to LendingClub have a 53% recovery rate overall. But to be conservative I will now assume the remaining $48 in principal to be completely lost. The current weighted average interest rate is reported as 12.33%, which will hopefully offer enough cushion to still net an 8% return.

I pick loans using a preset filter based on my LendingClub filters post as well as my Prosper filter research noted below. I never spend any time reading individual loan descriptions, keeping it passive and scalable. The filters are saved online and it takes just a minute to reinvest interest, although I still tend to forget until I do these updates. In addition to outstanding loan principal, the account also has $37.02 in idle cash, $125 in funding limbo, and $40.39 in accrued interest.

LendingClub.com account value: $5,161 (includes principal + accrued interest, minus 30+ day lates, after fees)

$5,000 Prosper.com Loan Portfolio. Below are screenshots of my Prosper account page as of 4/1/13.

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$10,000 P2P LendingClub / Prosper Loan Portfolio Update – March 2013

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Here’s the 3rd and last piece of the monthly updates for my Beat the Market Experiment, a set of three real money portfolios started on November 1st, 2012. See also my $10,000 Benchmark and $10,000 Speculative portfolio updates for March 2013.

For this one, I started with $10,000 split evenly between Prosper Lending and Lending Club, and went to work lending other people money and earning interest with an 8% target net return.

$5,000 LendingClub Loan Portfolio. Below is a screenshot of my LendingClub account as of 3/1/13. I’ve had loans at LC before, but sold them all on the secondary market and started fresh for this tracking experiment. Here are screenshots of my total balance and my portfolio details. I would say my overall risk level is moderate-conservative with mostly A and B rated loans (top two grades).


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The portfolio is now 4 months old, with 206 currently active loans, 7 loans that were paid off early, and one is in funding. Two of the active loans are currently between 16-30 days late. The current weighted average interest rate is 12.36%, which means I can lose 4.36% to defaults and still net an 8% return.

I pick loans using a preset filter based on my LendingClub filters post as well as my Prosper filter research noted below. I never spend any time reading individual loan descriptions, as I’m trying to keep this mostly passive and scalable. The filters are saved online and it takes just a minute to reinvest interest, although I still tend to forget until I do these updates. In additional to outstanding loan principal, the account also has $249 in idle cash, $25 in funding limbo, and $38 in accrued interest.

LendingClub.com account value: $5,160 (includes principal + accrued interest, after fees)

$5,000 Prosper.com Loan Portfolio. Below are screenshots of my Prosper account page as of 3/1/13.
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$10,000 P2P LendingClub / Prosper Loan Portfolio Update – February 2013

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Here’s the 3rd and last piece of the monthly updates for my Beat the Market Experiment, a set of three real money portfolios started on November 1st, 2012. See also my $10,000 Benchmark and $10,000 Speculative portfolio updates for February 2013.

I started with $10,000 split evenly between Prosper Lending and Lending Club, and went to work lending other people money and earning interest with an 8% target net return.

$5,000 LendingClub Loan Portfolio. Below is a screenshot of my LendingClub account as of 2/1/13. Keep in mind that I had loans before, but sold them all on the secondary market and started fresh for this tracking experiment. However, the charged-off loans from that period stayed on my record even though the overall return for my very conservative loan portfolio back then was over 5%.


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I now have a total of 194 active and issued loans. I used simple loan criteria based on my LendingClub filters post as well as my Prosper filter research noted below, saving me from having to look through individual loan descriptions. The portfolio is very young, but so far all loans are current (16 days past due is considered late). The current weighted average interest rate is 11.66%, which means I can lose 3.66% to defaults and still net an 8% return.

LendingClub.com account value: $5,113.27 (includes principal + accrued interest, after fees)

$5,000 Prosper.com Loan Portfolio. Below are screenshots of my Prosper account page as of 2/1/13.
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$10,000 P2P LendingClub and Prosper Loan Portfolio Update – January 2013

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Here’s the last part of the monthly update for my Beat The Market Experiment, a set of three real-money portfolios started on November 1st, 2012. See also my $10,000 Benchmark and $10,000 Speculative portfolio updates for January 2013.

On 11/1/12, I deposited $10,000 split evenly between Prosper Lending and Lending Club, and went to work lending other people money and earning interest with an 8% target net return.

$5,000 LendingClub Loan Portfolio, January 2013 Update. (A little late on the update, although only about $9 in extra interest was accrued since 1/1.) Below is a screenshot of my LendingClub account as of 1/9/13. Keep in mind that I had loans before, but sold them all on the secondary market and started fresh for this tracking experiment.


(click to enlarge)

Since last month, I invested another $400 for a total of 191 active and issued loans. I used simple loan filters based on my LendingClub filters post as well as my Prosper filter research noted below, and haven’t spent any time looking through any individual loan descriptions. The portfolio is very young, but so far all loans are current (16 days past due is considered late).

LendingClub.com account value: $5,082.51 (includes principal, accrued interest, net of fees)
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P2P LendingClub and Prosper Loan Portfolio Update – December 2012

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As the last part of my ongoing Beat The Market Experiment, here’s the December 2012 update for my consumer loan portfolio. See also my $10,000 Benchmark and $10,000 Play portfolio updates for December 2012.

On 11/1/12, I deposited $10,000 split evenly between Prosper Lending and Lending Club, and went to work lending other people money and earning interest. Here’s how I’m doing it:

  1. 8-10% target return, net of defaults and fees. Each site provides an estimated return based on the interest rate and expected delinquency rate, but I am also using specific filters to try and maximize my return. Overall, I would say my risk profile is moderate/conservative. If I can get an 8% net return over the next 3+ years in the current interest rate environment, I’ll view the portfolio as a success.
  2. Minimal time commitment. I’ve done the manual loan-picking thing, and I’m over it. 400 loans at $25 a pop would take forever. Both sites allow you to save customized loan filters and use an automated investment algorithm to pick a portfolio for you.
  3. Loan Filters. I’m constantly tinkering with the loan filters, but you can get a good idea of what I am using by reading this best Prosper filters post and this older LendingClub filter post. Nothing too fancy, just some broad filters based on historical inefficiencies that may or may not persist.
  4. Loan term lengths and reinvested interest. I thought about only buying loans with 3-year terms in order to have a clean ending timeframe to this experiment, but in reality that would leave a lot of cash at the end as many people pay off their loans early. Also, higher rates are found in 5-year loans. Given the ample liquidity I found in secondary market, if I wanted to end the experiment I could just sell all my loans and cash out. (In October, I sold all of my existing loans on the secondary Folio market in a matter of days, quite easy as long as you’re willing to sell at a discount.) This way I will reinvest any additional cash into new loans maximize return.

LendingClub Details
Below is a screenshot of my LendingClub account as of 12/3/12:
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Prosper vs. LendingClub: Credit Card Debt Consolidation Loan Comparison

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What is the best place to lower your interest rates and consolidate credit card debt in order to pay it all off? The first thing to try is to call up your credit card company and negotiate your existing rate down. If that isn’t satisfactory, you could switch issuers and do a balance transfer to a new card with a low introductory rate. If you have qualifying credit, you can take advantage of no fee 0% APR balance transfer offers for up to 15 months.

I would say the next option to consider is P2P lending, which in my experience has lower rates than personal unsecured loans from banks. P2P is gradually becoming an accepted source of loans as shown by announcements of new institutional money coming in from hedge funds. Prosper has been around since 2006 and has done over $300 million in loan volume since inception, and LendingClub has been around since 2007 with over $500 million in loans. Both are now registered with the SEC.

Prosper vs. LendingClub Similarities

  1. Unsecured loans. Such loans are backed only by the borrower’s promise. If there is a default, the lender can’t repossess any property or garnish wages. The primary deterrent to defaults is a poor credit score that will increase future borrowing costs and potentially other side effects including affecting employment.

    Alternatively, you may be considering paying off your credit card debt with a home equity loan. This would change your unsecured debt into a secured debt. The danger is now if you don’t pay off that loan, you could lose your house. If that added risk doesn’t make a difference to you, then a home equity loan or line of credit will probably offer you a lower rate.

  2. Flexible amounts. You can borrow more or less than your actual outstanding credit card balance, and you’re usually given a choice of amounts for the same interest rate. But remember, the purpose of consolidation is to help speed up the process of getting rid of that debt.
  3. Fixed rates over the entire term. The problem with credit cards is that the rates are often unpredictable. “Variable” rates are linked to a benchmark rate, but even “fixed” rates that aren’t guaranteed for X months can just mean they’re fixed until you get a notice that they are now “fixed” at a new, higher number. Given the current low interest rate environment, you should be wary of rising rates.
  4. No prepayment penalties. You can pay off your loan early at any time, with no fees.
  5. No application fee. There is no fee to apply for a loan. If your loan successfully funds and you get the cash, then you will be subject to an origination fee that is rolled into your monthly payments.

Prosper vs. LendingClub Differences

  1. Minimum credit scores. Prosper minimum stated credit score is 640, LendingClub minimum FICO score is 660.
  2. Maximum loan amounts. Prosper maximum loan amount is $25,000, LendingClub maximum loan amount is now $35,000. Both lower the limits depending on credit profile.
  3. Slightly different fee structures. Both companies charge an origination (closing) fee once you successfully get your loan. If you don’t get the loan, no fees. They have slightly different fee schedules, but both have origination fees ranging from about 1% to 5% for the majority of loans. Both charge $15 fees for late payments or failed payments.
  4. Different loan term lengths. Depending on your requested loan amount and other factors, each lender may offer different terms. For example, LendingClub told me that loan amounts from $1,000 to $15,975 are only available with a 36-month term, even though they do offer 1-year and 5-year loans in other cases. However, with a $10,000 loan at Prosper I was given the choice of 1, 3, or 5-year terms. In general, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate at both places.
  5. Check processing fees. LendingClub charges a $15 processing fee per payment made by check. Prosper does not. Both companies allow you to make payments via automatic ACH withdrawal from a checking account with no fees.

Prosper vs. LendingClub Interest Rates?

Their full criteria for determining what rate you’ll pay is not disclosed but is based on a number of factors. Really, the best way to see which one will give you the best deal is to ask each one for a free quote. In both cases, getting a rate quote will involve looking at your credit report, but it will not result in a credit inquiry and will not hurt your credit score. If you do decide to move forward and get the loan, only then it will show up on your credit report.

My experience. I applied for a $10,000 debt consolidation loan at both places. I was offered a 1-year loan at 8.17%, a 3-year loan at 7.49%, or a 5-year loan at 10.85% annual interest rates at Prosper. I was offered a 3-year loan at LendingClub at 6.62% interest rate. For a $10,000 loan over 3-years and including all fees, my LendingClub payment was $307 per month and Prosper payment was $311 per month. So even though the interest rates seem rather different, the final monthly payments ended up closer than expected (though still a $150 difference in total payments over the whole 3 years).

LendingClub 1099 Forms and Tax Reporting Questions

If you’re a newer investor in Lending Club P2P notes, you may be wondering how to handle your investments at tax time. Will I get a 1099? Even if you do get a 1099, it might not cover all your loans. Unfortunately, the documentation provided by LC is often inadequate on its own. Here is what their website says you will receive in terms of tax documents;
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