How Long Must Negative Credit Report Items Report For?

Accurate, negative information generally can be reported for seven years, but there are exceptions. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), there is a statute of limitations for reporting.

Negative entries on your credit report have different reporting limits. Typical retention periods are stated below, and may vary by state:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: 10 years from the date of entry of the order of relief or adjudication.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: 7 years from the date of filing if discharged. However, if case is dismissed for non-payment and the Chapter 13 plan was not completed, the derogatory trade line item could then stay on for seven years from the date it became delinquent.
  • Paid tax liens: report for 7 years from the date of payment.
  • Unpaid tax liens: report indefinitely while unpaid.
  • Unpaid child support: varies by state and does not always report, but in general will show as a judgment while unpaid. The judgment may be renewed in some states, so it will continue to report as long as a balance remains. Once paid, may remain for 7 years.
  • Civil suits and judgments: 7 years from the date of entry or until the governing statute of limitations has expired, whichever is longer.
  • Late payments: 30, 60, 90 or 120 days late payments may be reported up to 7 years from the date of delinquency.

Knowing these limits is an important step to determine if the information is obsolete and if a dispute is an appropriate course of action to pursue.

Inactive Positive entries on credit reports report for 10 years. Some examples are:

  • Inactive open/closed credit card accounts with a zero balance and on time payment history will report for 10 years from the date of last activity or payment.
  • Paid off car/home loan with on time payment history will report for 10 years from the date of last activity or payment.

If you find that an item is out of statute, you may use the sample dispute letters found on page 113 of credit.org’s Consumer Guide to Good Credit, available for free download in English and Spanish.

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