$18,000 cell phone bill, revisited

Well apparently the matter regarding the enormous cell phone bill has been settled, or so everything seems.

Article: "Verizon forgives balance of $18,000 cellphone bill"

From the statement by Verizon Wireless:

Despite making a substantial adjustment to the customer’s bill in 2006, we concluded last week the remaining balance was uncollectible, wrote it off and consider the matter closed.

The balance was deemed "uncollectible". This could mean they turned it over to a collection agency, which means the problem for the St Germain’s is only starting, or they completely forgave the entire balance (which requires a written statement to that effect to be of any substance), in which case they might want to start paying the IRS now and try to pay them about $3,000 between now and the end of the year.

Why? Forgiven debts are treated as income. This balance was a debt incurred by the family to Verizon Wireless. If Verizon forgave the debt, their annual income just jumped by $18,000, and their tax bill will be jumping as well.

Hopefully Bob St Germain also learned a lesson to keep a closer eye on his cellular contract and the plan usage.