The Income Tax Treatment of Economic Damages Awards
Michael D. Pakter
Financial experts are frequently asked aboutthe tax impact of damage awards, both paidand received. The complexities of the InternalRevenue Code (IRC) and judicial interpretations thereofmake determining the taxability of receipts or payments difficult.The same is true when dealing with the taxability of economic damages awarded to plaintiffs in civil actions. Nuances in the IRC and the judicial interpretations may make it difficult for a taxpayer to determine the taxability of his or her proceeds from a litigation award of personal economic damages. Whether or not such is taxable often depends on how the award of economic damages is categorized and/or described in the awarding documents.