Friday, March 16, 2012


Q: I just received a 1099C from a credit card company.  The attachment says that the amount is due to debt that they forgave.  They said that it may be taxable. Can you explain?  I did not get any money from the company.  How can that be taxable?  The amount is $31,269.

A: This can be a little complicated.  I strongly suggest that you work with a competent professional on this matter. 

You aren't the only ones surprised by 1099C's.  There are a lot of them being sent out due to the poor economy.  Lenders, like the credit card companies, are required to send out these 1099's or face steep penalties.  Realize that they also send a copy to the IRS.  We have found some discrepancies in the 1099's.  Discrepancies include amount of debt written off, when the debt was written off and wrong taxpayer numbers.

Here is the deal on the tax law:  Debt that is canceled or forgiven is considered taxable income.   There are a couple of exceptions which is why you need to be working with a competent professional.  If you can prove that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy or if you were insolvent then you might meet the exception. 

If you happen to meet one of the exceptions you still need to recognize the 1099C on the tax return and then explain why it was not taxable.  If you do not, you most likely will get a letter or visit from the IRS.