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  1. #51
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting jk
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    On top of everything else, the attorney often pays creditors from any awards. How would you work that in? A payor isn’t going to want to be involved with such a mess, even if the client attorney issue could be divided as you suggest.
    As a point of clarification the reason the attorney generally pays out the medical bills of his client from the money received in the lawsuit is that typically the lawyer has negotiated with the providers to accept less than they originally billed to ensure that the client is able to pay everything off from the settlement /judgment and perhaps have something left for future medical bills, if needed. But to make those settlements work, the lawyer needs to ensure those agreements are met and the providers paid.

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    Each of those situations are different, and none are analogous to the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. For example, the reason your insurance pays your doctor is that you contracted beforehand for (and pay premiums for) the insurance company to pay those bills. The plaintiff in a personal injury suit has not contracted with the defendant to pay anything to his attorney before the accident and certainly has not paid the defendant for that.
    That is because nothing is analogous to it.

    The defendant paying the plaintiff's attorney directly would not reduce the tax owed by the plaintiff.


    Yes. As I stated before.

    Buy the way, the usual practice is for the defendant (or rather, his insurer in most cases) to make the check out jointly to the lawyer and the plaintiff. That way the lawyer ensures he gets his/her cut of the award. That will be part of any well written contingent fee agreement.
    Why would a defendant pay the lawyer? As you both stated, the defendant does not have a contract with the lawyer. They should write the check directly to the plaintiff since the IRS sees it as all his money. Since when do we pay taxes on money that does not get paid to us nor we have access to? Then label it "income."

    Here's another similar example (that is not analogous). An employer pays tens of thousands of dollars a year for an employee's health insurance. It is not paid to the employee, but directly to the insurance co by the employer...and it is not taxed. If that money went to the employee and is then paid to the health insurance co it would be taxed. Why, sidestep the employee and it is tax free, sidestep the defendant and it should be tax free too. Further, health insurance is a luxury, suing and using an attorney to right a wrong is more of a necessity.

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    As a point of clarification the reason the attorney generally pays out the medical bills of his client from the money received in the lawsuit is that typically the lawyer has negotiated with the providers to accept less than they originally billed to ensure that the client is able to pay everything off from the settlement /judgment and perhaps have something left for future medical bills, if needed. But to make those settlements work, the lawyer needs to ensure those agreements are met and the providers paid.
    Are you saying that if a person had $100K in medical bills paid by his insurance co the lawyer can negotiate to pay them $50K and still bill the defendant $100K? And bag the extra $50K? Seems like the lawyer would be wheel'n and deal'n with other people's money.

  3. #53
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Why would a defendant pay the lawyer?
    Because the plaintiff's lawyer, as agent for the plaintiff, requests the check be made out jointly to the lawyer and the plaintiff. And the defendant does not care so long as the joint check satisfies the settlement or judgment. But the defendant has no obligation to the lawyer that it is satisfying by making the check payable jointly to the lawyer and the plaintiff.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Since when do we pay taxes on money that does not get paid to us nor we have access to? Then label it "income."
    Any time that the obligation is owed to you but you direct the obligor to pay to someone else on your behalf. This happens all the time. You'd do that for your own convenience, but the fact that the check does not have your name on it does not mean it is not income to you. While you don't get the cash in hand, you are exerting control over it nevertheless by directing where the money goes.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Here's another similar example (that is not analogous). An employer pays tens of thousands of dollars a year for an employee's health insurance. It is not paid to the employee, but directly to the insurance co by the employer...and it is not taxed.
    But the reason it is tax free is because there a particular code section IRC 106 that exempts that from the employee's income. Without that specific exemption in the code, the same principle that I mentioned above would apply: it would be income to the employee even though the check is going the health insurance company rather than the employee directly.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Further, health insurance is a luxury, suing and using an attorney to right a wrong is more of a necessity.
    I and many others would say that health insurance is a necessity, not a luxury. Indeed, Congress thought that too when it passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and required everyone to be covered by some form of health insurance.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Are you saying that if a person had $100K in medical bills paid by his insurance co the lawyer can negotiate to pay them $50K and still bill the defendant $100K? And bag the extra $50K? Seems like the lawyer would be wheel'n and deal'n with other people's money.
    The defendant owes to the plaintiff whatever the judgment or settlement was for the damages incurred. The details of what the plaintiff actually ends up paying is immaterial. The reason that medical providers are willing to settle for less is that they know there is a limited pot from which bills can be paid, and they take what they can get while they can. The defendant does not get to escape its responsibility to pay for all the damages incurred simply because the plaintiff then settles with the medical providers later for less. In short, the defendant has no cause to complain that the medical providers in the end will take less.

  4. #54
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Yes it is common. I am a Criminal lawyer in Dubai and i have seen lawyers charging 40% for a personal injury claim in US.

  5. #55
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting aabdubai01
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    Yes it is common. I am a LINK DELEATED Criminal lawyer in Dubai[/URL] and i have seen lawyers charging 40% for a personal injury claim in US.
    Spam Reported

  6. #56
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    Because the plaintiff's lawyer, as agent for the plaintiff, requests the check be made out jointly to the lawyer and the plaintiff. And the defendant does not care so long as the joint check satisfies the settlement or judgment. But the defendant has no obligation to the lawyer that it is satisfying by making the check payable jointly to the lawyer and the plaintiff.
    If the check is made out to both, the lawyer likely does not need the client to endorse it. Nor does the client have any control over it.

    Any time that the obligation is owed to you but you direct the obligor to pay to someone else on your behalf. This happens all the time. You'd do that for your own convenience, but the fact that the check does not have your name on it does not mean it is not income to you. While you don't get the cash in hand, you are exerting control over it nevertheless by directing where the money goes.
    Really? Name two instances please.

    But the reason it is tax free is because there a particular code section — IRC 106 — that exempts that from the employee's income. Without that specific exemption in the code, the same principle that I mentioned above would apply: it would be income to the employee even though the check is going the health insurance company rather than the employee directly.
    Is there also a "code" for not taxing an employee for his personal use of a company car?

    An employee not paying income tax on his healthcare while an individual does is a sham. It should be a write-off for both.

    I and many others would say that health insurance is a necessity, not a luxury. Indeed, Congress thought that too when it passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and required everyone to be covered by some form of health insurance.
    Healthcare is not a necessity. Air, water, clothes, a car, Medicare etc are far more necessities than health insurance. It is just an insurance policy on protecting your net worth incase of a rare catastrophic accident. Who needs insurance to cover penicillin or a fiberglass cast? I've had insurance my whole life and have never needed it. As for ACA, it was a scam to pad the pockets of the "Big Three" (healthcare providers, health insurance and big pharma). I just had about $13,000 of medical bills. My insurance paid less than $2,000 of it. Ya, great necessity. Thanks Obama! Also, folks are still not insured because individual health insurance went up 500%.

    The defendant owes to the plaintiff whatever the judgment or settlement was for the damages incurred. The details of what the plaintiff actually ends up paying is immaterial. The reason that medical providers are willing to settle for less is that they know there is a limited pot from which bills can be paid, and they take what they can get while they can. The defendant does not get to escape its responsibility to pay for all the damages incurred simply because the plaintiff then settles with the medical providers later for less. In short, the defendant has no cause to complain that the medical providers in the end will take less.
    If it were up to me, I'd let the insurance company retrieve their own money through their own lawsuit and legal bills. Of course they will take less, they don't deserve a dime from the efforts of the plaintiff's lawyer. But the plaintiff's lawyer will take half of everything so he wants the settlement as high as possible. No wonder they work on contingency, they chase money that the plaintiff will never see.

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Spam Reported
    Funny, the stuff you post is way, way worse.

    Report yourself next time.

  7. #57
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    If the check is made out to both, the lawyer likely does not need the client to endorse it. Nor does the client have any control over it.
    It's not the lawyer's money. It's the client's the money. And the fact that the lawyer takes the check and does the disbursement is all done pursuant to the fee agreement the lawyer has the with the client. So the client agreed to that. Nothing about this changes the fact that the entire award is included in the plaintiff's income for the reasons I've already stated. You can keep trying to spin different variations of the same theme where the lawyer gets the check and it's not going to change the answer.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Really? Name two instances please.
    I'll give you four examples, apart from the one we've been discussing, that are very common and happen literally thousands of times (at least) every single business day.

    1. Amy rents an apartment from Brad, who owns the apartment building. Brad contracts for ABC property management company to manage the place and collect rent from the tenants. ABC directs the tenants to write the checks to ABC property management company. ABC then deducts its fee and managements expenses and send the rest to Brad. The fact that ABC gets the check for the rent does not make it ABC's money. It is acting as the agent for Brad, and the entire rent belongs to him. Under the principle I outlined earlier, the entire $1500 of rent Amy pays is income to Brad even though he didn't get the check.

    2. Carol owes money to DEF corporation that she's defaulted on. After several dunning letters, DEF contracts with Deadbeat Collection Agency (DCA) to collect the debt on its behalf. (Note this is not a sale of the debt, simply a contract for collection.) DCA contacts Carol and gets her to make a payment of $100 on the debt and tells her to make the check out to DCA. DCA then deducts it's commission and send the rest to DEF. The entire $100 DCA collects for DEF belongs to DEF and is income to DEF even though DEF did not get the check for it.

    3. David visits the doctor and incurs a bill of $500. The medical practice hires XYZ Financial to handle all the billing. The bill goes out to David with instructions for the check to be to XYZ. XYZ gets the check, deducts its fee, and forwards the rest to the medical practice. The entire $500 fee is income to the doctor. It's his income even though he didn't get the check from David.

    4. Eric buys a table from Elder Pine Works, a company that has a store front on Amazon (or Ebay or whatever other platform) for $250. The payment goes to Amazon, which then deducts its fee and forwards the balance to Elder Pine. The entire $250 price of the table is income to Elder Pine even though it didn't get Eric's payment directly.

    And I could come up with more, but you hopefully get the idea. This happens all the time. So the situation with the attorney on contingent fee is hardly unique or novel.


    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Is there also a "code" for not taxing an employee for his personal use of a company car?
    Yes, there is. IRC 132, which provides the rules for qualified fringe benefits.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    An employee not paying income tax on his healthcare while an individual does is a sham. It should be a write-off for both.
    A person who pays for his/her own health insurance does get to deduct that as an itemized deduction as part of the deduction for medical expenses. It is subject to some limitations, notably that only the portion of the expenses that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) is deductible. Suppose that Becky has medical expenses, including health insurance, of $10,000 for the year and her AGI is $50,000. 7.5% of $50,000 = $3,750. She can therefore deduct $10,000 - $ 3,750 = $6,250 of medical expenses on her return.

    Certainly that is not as good as the exclusion the employee gets. Congress gave the better exclusion for employees to encourage employers to offer health insurance plans. You apparently disagree with the choice Congress made, and I'm sympathetic to you on that one, but if you want that changed Congress where you need to go for that.


    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Healthcare is not a necessity.
    Really? Heathcare is not a necessity? I would say it's more of a necessity than a car. If I were having a heart attack, I'd say prompt health care was indeed the most necessary thing in the world. You don't agree?

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Air, water, clothes, a car, Medicare etc are far more necessities than health insurance.
    You do realize that Medicare is a type of health insurance too, right? It's just provided by the government rather than a private company.

  8. #58
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    It's not the lawyer's money. It's the client's the money. And the fact that the lawyer takes the check and does the disbursement is all done pursuant to the fee agreement the lawyer has the with the client. So the client agreed to that. Nothing about this changes the fact that the entire award is included in the plaintiff's income for the reasons I've already stated. You can keep trying to spin different variations of the same theme where the lawyer gets the check and it's not going to change the answer.
    If there is one thing I have learned about lawyers in my recent deposition is that you must be very cognizant of the words they use, and your words are off a bit.

    Lawyers very, very rarely retrieve "income" for their clients. That is only done as a result of punitive damages. Since only 3% of personal injury cases go to court and let's say only 10% of those cases level punitive damages against the defendant, less that 1% of personal injury cases ever result in paying income to the plaintiff. So 99% of the time a lawyer is NOT disbursing income.

    I'll give you four examples, apart from the one we've been discussing, that are very common and happen literally thousands of times (at least) every single business day.

    1. Amy rents an apartment from Brad, who owns the apartment building. Brad contracts for ABC property management company to manage the place and collect rent from the tenants. ABC directs the tenants to write the checks to ABC property management company. ABC then deducts its fee and managements expenses and send the rest to Brad. The fact that ABC gets the check for the rent does not make it ABC's money. It is acting as the agent for Brad, and the entire rent belongs to him. Under the principle I outlined earlier, the entire $1500 of rent Amy pays is income to Brad even though he didn't get the check.

    2. Carol owes money to DEF corporation that she's defaulted on. After several dunning letters, DEF contracts with Deadbeat Collection Agency (DCA) to collect the debt on its behalf. (Note this is not a sale of the debt, simply a contract for collection.) DCA contacts Carol and gets her to make a payment of $100 on the debt and tells her to make the check out to DCA. DCA then deducts it's commission and send the rest to DEF. The entire $100 DCA collects for DEF belongs to DEF and is income to DEF even though DEF did not get the check for it.

    3. David visits the doctor and incurs a bill of $500. The medical practice hires XYZ Financial to handle all the billing. The bill goes out to David with instructions for the check to be to XYZ. XYZ gets the check, deducts its fee, and forwards the rest to the medical practice. The entire $500 fee is income to the doctor. It's his income even though he didn't get the check from David.

    4. Eric buys a table from Elder Pine Works, a company that has a store front on Amazon (or Ebay or whatever other platform) for $250. The payment goes to Amazon, which then deducts its fee and forwards the balance to Elder Pine. The entire $250 price of the table is income to Elder Pine even though it didn't get Eric's payment directly.

    And I could come up with more, but you hopefully get the idea. This happens all the time. So the situation with the attorney on contingent fee is hardly unique or novel.
    We were talking about a lawyer, or others, dispersing income. None of those examples represent others doing that for another person.

    Yes, there is. IRC 132, which provides the rules for qualified fringe benefits.
    A law does not make something right. It makes it legal.

    A person who pays for his/her own health insurance does get to deduct that as an itemized deduction as part of the deduction for medical expenses. It is subject to some limitations, notably that only the portion of the expenses that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) is deductible. Suppose that Becky has medical expenses, including health insurance, of $10,000 for the year and her AGI is $50,000. 7.5% of $50,000 = $3,750. She can therefore deduct $10,000 - $ 3,750 = $6,250 of medical expenses on her return.


    Your numbers are stacked. Try doing it for a more real number, like when a dual income that makes $150K/yr. They would get no deduction.

    Certainly that is not as good as the exclusion the employee gets. Congress gave the better exclusion for employees to encourage employers to offer health insurance plans. You apparently disagree with the choice Congress made, and I'm sympathetic to you on that one, but if you want that changed Congress where you need to go for that.
    You are sympathetic to me? Try looking at if from a non-employee standpoint. They pay 400% more for their health insurance, and unless they are self-employed, they get zero deduction for those obscene monthly payments. Great for the employee but a royal screw job for everyone else, who nobody cares about because there aren't enough of them.

    Really? Heathcare is not a necessity? I would say it's more of a necessity than a car. If I were having a heart attack, I'd say prompt health care was indeed the most necessary thing in the world. You don't agree?
    I believe that it is so fundamental that we should all pay the same for it, like our federal tax code, like we pay for SS or Medicare. Also, it has nothing to do with running a business so it should not be a legitimate write off for a business. Either everyone pays tax on medical coverage or nobody does.

    You do realize that Medicare is a type of health insurance too, right? It's just provided by the government rather than a private company.
    I said Medicare because those folks have limited income, can often no longer work for an income, have limited assets and are the most medically needy. So they need to either be taken care of with Medicare, handed over to the state/fed to pay for them or be thrown in a ditch to die.

  9. #59
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    If there is one thing I have learned about lawyers in my recent deposition is that you must be very cognizant of the words they use, and your words are off a bit.

    Lawyers very, very rarely retrieve "income" for their clients. That is only done as a result of punitive damages. Since only 3% of personal injury cases go to court and let's say only 10% of those cases level punitive damages against the defendant, less that 1% of personal injury cases ever result in paying income to the plaintiff. So 99% of the time a lawyer is NOT disbursing income.
    I did indeed choose my words carefully, and I was not, to use your phrase, "off a bit". The money received by the client, even in the case compensation of personal injury, is income. It is just not taxable income. In the case of compensatory damages for personal injury it is not taxable income, but it is still income nevertheless.


    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    We were talking about a lawyer, or others, dispersing income. None of those examples represent others doing that for another person.
    All of those examples are exactly that situation. For example, the personal property manager collecting rent for the landlord. That rent is income for the landlord. But tenant doesn't pay the landlord her $1500 rent directly. Instead the tenant the pays the property management firm. The property management firm deducts its fee and sends the rest to the landlord. The entire $1500 rent is income to landlord even though the landlord didn't get the rent check. The plaintiff's lawyer on a contingent fee case receives a check from the defendant for $100,000 to satisfy the judgment against it. The plaintiff's lawyer deducts his contingent fee and then sends the rest to the client. But the entire $100,000 is income to the client even though the client didn't directly get the check (whether the income is taxable is another matter, as discussed above). It's the same situation and both are examples of the concept we have been discussing: it is not who gets the check that matters, but rather who was owed the money and is controlling what happens to it. In both these cases the property management company and attorney are acting as agents for their clients; they are receiving money that is owed their clients. Their clients are directing what happens with that money via the contract they have with the landlord or lawyer. So in both cases the clients have income in the full amount of the check that their agent's received for them. If you can't see that from a tax standpoint the situations are the same I don't know what to tell you.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    A law does not make something right. It makes it legal.
    You asked if there was a code section that provided for it, and I gave you the answer. Your statement is correct as far as it goes, but if you have an objection to fringe benefits the reason for the objection certainly isn't obvious. In any event this thread is not the place to debate whether every section of the tax code is right or wrong.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    Your numbers are stacked. Try doing it for a more real number, like when a dual income that makes $150K/yr. They would get no deduction.
    My example was actually a real one (though with rounded numbers). You can of course come up with situations in which there would be no deduction. My point was that in some instances there is a deduction available but also agreeing with you that it is not nearly as good as the benefit the employee gets with employer provided health insurance.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    You are sympathetic to me? Try looking at if from a non-employee standpoint. They pay 400% more for their health insurance, and unless they are self-employed, they get zero deduction for those obscene monthly payments. Great for the employee but a royal screw job for everyone else, who nobody cares about because there aren't enough of them.
    I do look at it from a non-employee standpoint because I myself have not been an employee for a number of years. I'm keenly aware that I pay far more for my health insurance now than I did when I worked for the government and that the governments contribution (which was about 80% of the cost) was not income to me. It was a great deal. It'd be great if everyone had similar access to very affordable health insurance.

    Quote Quoting Chuck77
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    I believe that it is so fundamental that we should all pay the same for it, like our federal tax code, like we pay for SS or Medicare. Also, it has nothing to do with running a business so it should not be a legitimate write off for a business. Either everyone pays tax on medical coverage or nobody does.
    Well, you had said earlier that healthcare was not a necessity. Now your views are much closer to mine regarding the necessity of health care.

  10. #60
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    Default Re: Is 40% Too Much for a Law Firm to Charge

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    I did indeed choose my words carefully, and I was not, to use your phrase, "off a bit". The money received by the client, even in the case compensation of personal injury, is income. It is just not taxable income. In the case of compensatory damages for personal injury it is not taxable income, but it is still income nevertheless.




    All of those examples are exactly that situation. For example, the personal property manager collecting rent for the landlord. That rent is income for the landlord. But tenant doesn't pay the landlord her $1500 rent directly. Instead the tenant the pays the property management firm. The property management firm deducts its fee and sends the rest to the landlord. The entire $1500 rent is income to landlord even though the landlord didn't get the rent check. The plaintiff's lawyer on a contingent fee case receives a check from the defendant for $100,000 to satisfy the judgment against it. The plaintiff's lawyer deducts his contingent fee and then sends the rest to the client. But the entire $100,000 is income to the client even though the client didn't directly get the check (whether the income is taxable is another matter, as discussed above). It's the same situation and both are examples of the concept we have been discussing: it is not who gets the check that matters, but rather who was owed the money and is controlling what happens to it. In both these cases the property management company and attorney are acting as agents for their clients; they are receiving money that is owed their clients. Their clients are directing what happens with that money via the contract they have with the landlord or lawyer. So in both cases the clients have income in the full amount of the check that their agent's received for them. If you can't see that from a tax standpoint the situations are the same I don't know what to tell you.



    You asked if there was a code section that provided for it, and I gave you the answer. Your statement is correct as far as it goes, but if you have an objection to fringe benefits the reason for the objection certainly isn't obvious. In any event this thread is not the place to debate whether every section of the tax code is right or wrong.



    My example was actually a real one (though with rounded numbers). You can of course come up with situations in which there would be no deduction. My point was that in some instances there is a deduction available but also agreeing with you that it is not nearly as good as the benefit the employee gets with employer provided health insurance.



    I do look at it from a non-employee standpoint because I myself have not been an employee for a number of years. I'm keenly aware that I pay far more for my health insurance now than I did when I worked for the government and that the governments contribution (which was about 80% of the cost) was not income to me. It was a great deal. It'd be great if everyone had similar access to very affordable health insurance.



    Well, you had said earlier that healthcare was not a necessity. Now your views are much closer to mine regarding the necessity of health care.
    Nearly every definition of income makes that word synonymous with gain. You had a different definition of the word when you said "the governments contribution (which was about 80% of the cost) was not income to me." Income being synonymous with it being taxable. Even the IRS does not want a personal injury award to be listed as income on your taxes. So is it "income?" Not to the IRS!

    If I bought a piano for $500 and sold it the next day for $500, is that money income? Maybe yes. When someone takes my right arm and they pay me $500K for it, it is an even exchange, no gain, no income. if the $500K for my right arm was taxable, then it would be logical that losing an arm, and not being compensated fully for it, would allow for a huge write-off. But one cannot gain, create income, or write off lost and injured body parts.

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