La Mesa, CA asked in Legal Malpractice and Tax Law for California

Q: If I am a Personal Injury Lawyer and win a case do I pay taxes on the money I got from the case

I am in California

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3 Lawyer Answers
Haleh Shekarchian
Haleh Shekarchian
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Beverly Hills, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Taxes would have to be paid on attorney’s fees the attorney is charging since that is an earring.

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Answered
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: To be or not to be!!!

Let’s see your quandary, are you a lawyer who represented himself in a personal injury case?

If you were representing a client, you would be entitled to your 33 percent fee from the Settlement Agreement and your tax would be filed and would take that income into account.

If you represented yourself as an individual and did not mention your Lawfirm (which could be a corporation, by the way and thus not you) , you could keep all money’s received for emotional distress and not pay taxes on it. That is in the IRS guidelines. However, if you claimed loss of income as a component of your demand letter, negotiation or litigation, then you must pay taxes on that income.

There are some practitioners that advise their clients to request that all their recoveries be denominated as emotional distress damages and if it is not too large an amount, maybe it may be Right, but I always advise on the side of caution and recommend to pay the tax if in your pleading you claimed wage losses. Let me know if you got better advice. I am also recommending that you check with your CPA. Best of luck and congratulations on your recovery.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I guess the first question is who is the attorney and who is the client? Did you get this as an attorney or as a victim? I like Mr. Juarez' answer but it is a little conservative, only designate as taxable that portion that would be earnings. And I agree with Ms. Shekarchian that it is definitely an earring, or maybe even a nose ring. Please understand that although you can edit your entry anytime, once we post, our entries are permanent, including all typos.

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