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American Express Says They Will Issued 1099-C Personally on Corporate Card. – Roger

“Dear Steve,

I have a client that has a business card with American Express. It was totally used for business, a corporation. His business is in really bad shape.

He, however, is the guarantor of the card. He would like to do a settlement however Amex says they will have to issue him a 1099C individually.

My client protests as this is a business account, not his personally. Thus, he says, the 1099 C should be issued to the Corp, not to his individual tax return. Amex refuses to NOT issue the 1099 C to him individually. So, it’s better off for him to not have any debt forgiveness and leave it as outstanding till statute of limitations passes and eventually goes down the forgotten trail.

What rules to you know of regarding a 1099-C issued individually on Corporate debt and what should he do?

Roger”

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The Answer

American Express Says They Will Issued 1099 C Personally on Corporate Card.   Roger

Dear Roger,

Sounds right.

When you apply for an American Express business card the agreement says, “You and your mean the Basic Cardmember and the Company. You agree, jointly and severally, to be bound by the terms of this Agreement.” And, “You are responsible for all use of the Account by Additional Cardmembers and anyone they allow to use the Account. You must pay for all charges they make. You must share this agreement with all Additional Cardmembers.” – Source

Additionally, other American Express business card terms and conditions say, “By submitting this application, you, as an individual and the Authorizing Officer of the Company, (a) are requesting us to open an Account in the name of the Company, (b) are requesting that we issue Card(s) as you direct, (c) are agreeing to be jointly and severally liable with the Company for all charges to the account, and (d) are REPRESENTING THAT ALL CARD(S) ISSUED ON THE ACCOUNT WILL ONLY BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL OR BUSINESS PURPOSES.”

I would anticipate that if the American Express card defaults and the client does not file bankruptcy to discharge the debt that it would be reasonable to expect American Express to sue the cardholder to recover. American Express doesn’t play around.

It seems that because of the terms and conditions, the client may have assumed the debt run up on the card for the corporation since it appears they would have agreed to be personally responsible for the debt as well.

This is not a new situation, see American Express Sued Me Personally For a Business AMEX Card I Had. – Michael

However, if you disagree, please tell your client to speak to an attorney licensed in their state.

American Express new business applications are typically in the name of the individual while the company name is on the card.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Big Hug!

American Express Says They Will Issued 1099 C Personally on Corporate Card.   Roger
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Roger

    Thank you, Steve, but I don’t feel you answered my question. This issue is not if one is personally liable by guaranteeing a corporate credit card. He would be. My question is should he be personally liable for having additional income through debt forgiveness (i.e. what a 1099 C would say to the IRS) when it only was the corporation that benefited for the debt forgiveness. I say if it was only used for business as it should have been, then it is strictly corporate ‘income’. What if there was a third, forth or 100 guarantors… each should get a 1099 C for a corporate debt that has received forgiveness. Yes, each on that is a guarantor is liable but, I don’t think the 1099 issue is settled. Do you? Here’s a thought…. Maybe the individual could offset the 1099 ‘income’ by somehow declare that is additional capital put into the company. I guess this is an accounting issue. your thoughts?

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      It’s really a tax issue. In my experience American Express treats these as personal cards with a company name on it. I’ve never seen one where the company received the 1099-C and there was no personal liability except in the past with a big corporation where no personal guaranty was required.

      Essentially it seems American Express is forgiving his personal liability for the debt.

      If he’s insolvent then he would just fill out IRS Form 982 and avoid the tax liability. Otherwise he could avoid it by paying the debt he personally guaranteed.

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