(Note: The Innocence Project can’t provide tax advice. If you have been compensated for a wrongful conviction, you should speak to a tax attorney before filing a return.)
Exonerees who are compensated for their wrongful convictions will no longer be taxed on money received from the government, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has reported.
The newspaper reports that the Internal Revenue Service recently lifted the hefty tax bills from the federal government.
Kevin Glasheen, a Texas attorney who was leading the effort to have the tax removed, said that exonerees sometimes lost a third of their compensation to the IRS tax. Glasheen anticipates that more than 200 exonerees across the country will be affected by the tax lift.
The IRS based the previous rule on an exoneree who spent a short time behind bars. Glasheen and other
advocates explained to the IRS that the wrongfully convicted typically spend several years trying to prove their innocence before being exonerated and that long-term wrongful imprisonment can have a dramatic effect on the exonerees’ physical well-being.
At present, Texas compensates its exonerees with more money than any other state with $80,000 for every year of imprisonment and pays for up to 120 hours of tuition at a public college or career center.