Q: Are legal fees tax deductible for defense against civil & possible criminal charges stemming from sale of a business?
Last year I "sold" my company (company A) to another company (company B). Company B was to pay me over three years.
I stayed on as a full-time paid contractor to work for company B. I retained ownership company A (was planning to relinquish ownership after 50% of the full payout was reached - which never happened).
After 1 year. company B got in legal trouble and was shut down, along with company A. Since I was still named as the owner of company A I was sued civilly and also faced criminal charges (still pending).
I had to hire a civil lawyer and a criminal lawyer. I withdrew money from my 401k to pay these legal fees. I paid a 10% IRS penalty for withdrawal (I'm 54 years old).
My question is do I get to write-off the legal expenses as they were in defense of a business related issue? My lawyer says maybe NOT because I hired him personally, not the business.
A: The issue is very complex and depends heavily on the specifics. Just pay for a consultation with an experienced tax attorney or other tax specialist so that you can get actual legal advice. Make sure you look carefully - many times you'll find business attorneys who also do tax instead of attorneys who practice tax law full time. A civil or criminal attorney may not have the specialized experience with tax to provide accurate advice.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.