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What does “Charged off” mean on my credit report

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2015 | collections, Firm News

I would love to say that by the grace of your Guardian Angels, you no longer owe this debt. But that’s not the case. It simply means that that particular creditor is no longer carrying the account as a receivable.

It also likely means that they have claimed this as a loss on their books, and have transferred it to another collection agency, oftentimes for pennies on the dollar. But you should not expect that the collection agency will settle with you for nickels on the dollar and make a profit – they know that many of these debts are uncollectible, and when they do get a person who is breathing and has a job, they will usually not give much of a discount for settling, because that is how they make their money.

Sometimes it takes a year or two from the time a debt is charged-off, until it goes to a collection agency. So you should not assume that the lack of hearing from anybody, means that you have been relieved of this debt. And even once it goes to a collection agency, it still may end up in the hands of a collection attorney, as the statute of limitation on collecting debts is typically six years.

Another thing that can happen, is that the collection agency and/or original creditor can send you what is called a 1099, which is a tax form. The IRS considers canceled or forgiven debt to be a form of income, and then you could end up owing tax on that, whether you report it or not, as the IRS will find out. And once that happens, you cannot file bankruptcy on the taxes. But if you file bankruptcy before you get 1099’d, then you cannot get 1099’d. And believe it or not, they can actually simultaneously 1099 you, and pursue a judgment against you.

Here is another blog post on the same topic and Experian Q&A/definition of charge off.