Tell Your Representatives to Support the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act, H.R. 3086

As one of our more than 6.9 million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative today and ask him or her to support Representative Sam Johnson’s Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act “to provide tax benefits to individuals who have been wrongfully incarcerated,” and to co-sponsor the bill if they have not already done so.

No justice system, if it is to be effective, can be totally free from error. At times, it is unavoidable that judges and juries will make mistakes and incarcerate innocent people. When such a tragedy occurs, it is right and proper for the government to compensate the victim for the injustice done to him. Often, this compensation takes the form of a monetary award, but under current law, these awards are treated as taxable income, and portion of the money intended to go to the victim goes instead to the IRS.

The Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to specify that income received as damages, restitution, or other award by the government for a wrongful incarceration of an individual shall not be taxable.

A monetary award can never give back the time served by an innocent person, but at the very least part of that award should not be taken back by the government in the form of taxes. Such a policy makes no sense and ignores the purpose of compensation for wrongful convictions in the first place.

When someone is wrongfully convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, it is both unjust and insulting to then apply taxes to their restitution. I hope you’ll contact your representative and urge him or her to support and co-sponsor the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act, H.R. 3086.

Adam Brandon