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Most negative information can appear in your credit report for seven years. This includes lawsuits, judgments against you, paid tax liens, accounts sent to collection, criminal records (except criminal convictions, which may be reported indefinitely), late payments, and overdue child support.
Some adverse information regarding certain types of student loans may be reported for more than seven years. Bankruptcies can stay in your credit report for up to ten years after the last activity (usually the date you received your discharge or the date the case was dismissed).
Credit inquiries (requests by companies for a copy of your credit report) can be reported for only two years. For more information, see Nolo's article How to Clean Up Your Credit Report.