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A reduction in an individual's or a company's income as the result of an expense. For example, an unpayable credit sale may be a write-off for the creditor, especially if the debtor declares bankruptcy. The bankruptcy means that the debtor is unable to pay the debt, which results in a loss of income for the creditor. A write-off may usually be deducted from one's taxable income.
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A reduction to zero in the value of an asset carried on a firm's financial statement. Companies often hesitate to make writeoffs because profits reported to stockholders are reduced.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.