Monday, June 6, 2011     17:19

Frequently Asked Question

1. What is 'Charge-Off'?
A word describing an expense on a company's income statement. A charge-off will fall under one of the following categories:
1. A debt that is believed uncollectible through the reporting firm and is subsequently written off. This kind will be classified as 'bad debt expense' on the income statement, and removed from the balance sheet.
2. A probable one-time extraordinary expense incurred by a company that negatively affects earnings and results in a write-down of some of the Company's assets. The write-down arises due to impairments of assets.

2. What is a bad debt?
A bad debt or un-collectible account is a receivable owed by a customer, client, or patient which the business owner or creditor is not able to collect. Bad debts might be written off by the creditor at the end of the year, if it is determined that the debt is un-collectible.
In order to determine if there are any bad debts in the accounts receivable listing, an account receivable aging report is run, showing how much money is owed by each creditor and how long it has been outstanding.

3. How to Claim a Business Bad Debt?
There are two methods to claim a business bad debt.

  • The specific charge-off method.
  • The nonaccrual-experience method.

Usually, you should use the specific charge-off method. Still, you might use the nonaccrual-experience method if you meet the requirements discussed later under

4. What is the Significance of charged-off debt?
Your charged-off debt doesn't cease to exist simply since your creditor claimed it as a loss on its taxes. You still owe the debt, and most charged-off debts are turned over to collection agencies. A collection agency will employ aggressive tactics when attempting to acquire payment from you, such as making frequent telephone calls to your home or office and sending you collection letters through the mail.

5. Do You Have to Pay a Bill That Has Been Charged Off As a Bad Debt?
After 180 days, most creditors will charge off any unsecured debt, such as a medical bill or credit card debt that you leave unpaid. The creditor can then write off the debt on its taxes as a business loss. A creditor's willingness to charge off a debt, still, does not exonerate you from your responsibility to pay it.


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