According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as of Sept. 1, 2011, the reporting period runs seven and a half years (seven years plus 180 days) from the date of delinquency. This section from the FCRA states the seven-year time frame starts 180 days from the first missed payment:
The 7-year period . . . shall begin, with respect to any delinquent account that is placed for collection (internally or by referral to a third party, whichever is earlier), charged to profit and loss, or subjected to any similar action upon the expiration of the 180-day period beginning on the date of the commencement of the delinquency which immediately proceeded the collection activity, charged to profit and loss, or similar action.