Q. Why do I need to do paperwork for a loan to a family member or a friend?
A. No matter who you're lending money to, you need to document the loan and charge simple interest on the principal amount. If you don't document the loan, you may end up paying gift taxes on the proceeds. And if you don't set an interest rate, the tax department will do it for you and they will charge income tax on interest income you never received.
Q. What interest rate should I charge?
A. Each state has its own legal lending rate, being the highest rate of interest that can be charged on personal loans. They may also have a usury limit, which is a statutory maximum rate of interest. Anything in excess of this rate is deemed to be usury. In states that do not have a usury limit, the federal government may still impose a limit on the interest rate. Late fees or other charges may also be counted as interest.