The answer to the question is found in a roundabout manner:
The instructions for Forms 1099A and C state:
Generally, file Form 1099-C for the year in which an identifiable event occurs. See Exceptions below. If you cancel a debt or business before an identifiable event occurs, you may choose to file Form 1099-C for the year of cancellation. No further reporting is required even if a second identifiable event occurs on the same debt. Also, you are not required to file an additional or corrected Form 1099-C if you receive payment on a prior year debt.
The Instructions go on to define an 'event"
A debt is canceled on the date an identifiable event occurs. An identifiable event is:
1. A discharge in bankruptcy under Title 11 of the U.S. Code for business or investment debt (see Exceptions on this page).
2. A cancellation or extinguishment making the debt unenforceable in a receivership, foreclosure, or similar federal or state court proceeding.
3. A cancellation or extinguishment when the statute of limitations for collecting the debt expires.
4. A cancellation or extinguishment when the creditor elects foreclosure remedies that by law end or bar the creditor’s right to collect the debt.
5. A cancellation or extinguishment due to a probate or similar proceeding
6. A discharge of indebtedness under an agreement between the creditor and the debtor to cancel the debt at less than full consideration.
7. A discharge of indebtedness because of a decision or a policy of the creditor to discontinue collection activity
and cancel the debt. A creditor’s defined policy can be in writing or an established business practice of the creditor. A creditor’s practice to stop collection activity and abandon a debt when a particular nonpayment period expires is a defined policy.
8. The expiration of nonpayment testing period. This event occurs when the creditor has not received a payment on the debt during the testing period. The testing period is a 36-month fund period ending on December 31 plus any time when the creditor was precluded from collection activity by a stay in bankruptcy or similar bar under state or local law. The creditor can rebut the debt. Use any reasonable method to determine the amount of occurrence of this identifiable event if:
a. The creditor (or a third-party collection agency) has engaged in significant bona fide collection activity during the
12-month period ending on December 31 or
b. Facts and circumstances that exist on January 31 following the end of the 36-month period indicate that the debt
was not canceled.
Significant bona fide collection activity does not include nominal or ministerial collection action, such as an automated mailing. Facts and circumstances indicating that a debt was not canceled include the existence of a lien relating to the debt (up to the value of the security) or the sale or packaging for sale of the debt are the debt by the creditor.
Referring back to the general instructions for 1099,
File Forms 1098, 1099, or W-2G on paper by March 2, 2009, or March 31, 2009, if filing electronically. Also file Form 1096 with paper forms. Brokers may file Forms 1096 and 1099-B anytime after the reporting period they elect to adopt (month, quarter, or year), but not later than the due date. File Form 1096 with Department of the Treasury by June 1, 2009.
Taking these together, I would posit the following:
In any year that a debt id canceled, the 1099C is due to be sent to the IRS on paper by the February 28 or electronically by March 31 (both dates can be extended by weekends to the following Monday).
The Instructions for 1099C do not give a specific due date for issuance of the form to the debtor, but rather refer to Section M of the General Instructions for Forms 1099. While that section does not list 1099C, it does state that copies of other Forms 1099 should be issued to the recipient on the last day of January following the end of the tax year.
Section O if the General instructions advises of a $50 per 1099 penalty for failure to provide correct 1099s to the IRS. There is no penalty for failure to provide to the taxpayer.