Rolling Jubilee

A bailout of the people by the people

Rolling Jubilee is a Strike Debt project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it. Together we can liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal. Our latest project The Debt Collective aims to build collective power to challenge the way we finance and access basic necessities such as housing, medical care and education. Join us as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not Wall Street profits.

Rolling Jubilee / Strike Debt FAQ

What is Strike Debt?

Strike Debt is an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street. First started in New York City, but inspired by movements around the globe, Strike Debt now has affiliates across the country. We believe people should not go into debt for basic necessities like education, healthcare and housing. Strike Debt initiatives like the Debt Resistors' Operations Manual offer advice to all kinds of debtors about how to escape debt and how to join a growing collective resistance to the debt system. Our network has the goal of building a broad movement, with more effective ways of resisting debt, and with the ultimate goal of creating an alternative economy that benefits us all and not just the 1%.

Can you abolish my debt?

There is no way to seek out a specific person and buy that person's defaulted debt. With 15% of Americans currently being pursued by a debt collector, looking for one person's debt would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Anonymous accounts are bundled together and sold as a whole. Before purchasing debt, there is only limited information as to whose debt we are buying. These peculiarities are part of the scandal that we are trying to highlight.

Will the Rolling Jubilee have to file a 1099-C Cancellation of Debt form with the IRS?

No. The Rolling Jubilee will earn no income from the lending of money and is therefore exempt from filing a Form 1099-C under the Internal Revenue Code Section 6050P.

Is this legal?

Yes! What should actually surprise everyone is the fact that it is legal to trade in people's misfortune. As part of the deregulation of the finance industry, the government made it legal to buy and sell charged-off debt.

Will a gift from Rolling Jubilee create a tax burden for debtors?

The Rolling Jubilee was created in consultation with a team of attorneys. They have thoroughly researched the tax implications and do not believe that beneficiaries are obligated to pay taxes on debts the Rolling Jubilee abolishes in this manner. It is the Rolling Jubilee's position that it is making a tax-free gift to the people whose debt it is abolishing. See for an interview about Rolling Jubilee with the USA's top-ranked tax lawyer.

What is a jubilee?

Jubilee comes from many faith traditions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A jubilee is an event in which all debts are canceled and all those in bondage are set free. It worked in Biblical times and it can still work today. For example, a kind of jubilee happened in Iceland after the 2008 economic crisis: instead of bailing out their banks, Iceland canceled a percentage of mortgage debt. What these examples show is that debts are just a promise which can - and should - be renegotiated or canceled when the circumstances warrant. Strike Debt believes that now is the time for a jubilee for the 99%.

How Does Rolling Jubilee Work?

Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a shadowy speculative market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full amount from debtors. The Rolling Jubilee intervenes by buying debt, keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it. We're going into this market not to make a profit but to help each other out and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%.

Are my contributions tax-deductible?

No. The Rolling Jubilee Fund is a non-profit 501c4 ("an organization whose primary activity is the promotion of social welfare"), not a charity. Your contributions will not count as a deduction against your personal income tax.

Can Rolling Jubilee abolish student debt?

Student debt has surpassed $1 trillion partly because it is one of the most protected forms of debt by federal law. Student debtors can rarely discharge their loans in bankruptcy and lenders have rights to garnish wages and social security payments. The vast majority of student loans have these federal guarantees. We cannot buy these loans because there is no secondary market. However, we believe it may be possible to buy private tuition debt of some sort that is not guaranteed by the federal government; Rolling Jubilee may attempt to purchase this kind of debt after doing further research.