When a creditor writes off your debt, it doesn’t mean your financial responsibility to repay the debt is eliminated. Rather, the account may be reported as a charge-off to alert potential creditors that you’ve failed to meet credit obligations. The easiest way to see if a creditor has written off your account is to check your credit report. Although the company you owe may have written off your debt, it is possible that your account will be sent to a collection agency for recovery. In this case, you’ll want to know if the account has been written off so you’ll know who you need to pay to settle the account.
Order a copy of your credit report from each credit bureau. You can order one free credit report each year from annualcreditreport.com. This is the official free credit report site and is partnered with the Federal Trade Commission to provide reports from each of the three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
Look at each report and find the name of your creditor. Not every creditor reports to all three bureaus, so it’s possible that your account may appear on one report, but not another.
View the status of your account. Creditors that write off your debt report the account as a charge-off account to the credit bureau it regularly reports your account to. The most common term used to indicate your account has been written off is “Charge Off,” but you may see other statements like “Profit and Loss Write-Off,” “Debt Write Off,” or “Bad Debt Charge-Off.”
- A creditor that writes off your debt may issue a 1099-C. A 1099-C is an IRS debt cancellation form. The amount that was written off is reported to you and the IRS. You must report 1099-C items on your tax return as income. The amount may be subject to income tax unless you were bankrupt or insolvent when the creditor writes off your debt.
- Charge-off accounts have a negative impact on your credit score. The charge-off remains on your credit report for up to seven years.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.