People who have received restitution payments from those convicted of human trafficking do not need to include those payments in gross income for federal income tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.
Notice 2012-12 advises taxpayers that such mandatory restitution payments are excluded from gross income. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 requires a defendant convicted of a human trafficking offense to make these payments to the victim to compensate for costs for medical services, physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation, transportation, temporary housing, child care expenses, lost income, attorneys’ fees and other costs, and other losses the victim suffers as a proximate result of the offense.
Congress enacted the law over a decade ago “to combat trafficking of persons, a contemporary manifestation of slavery whose victims are predominantly women and children, to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, and to protect their victims.”
The criminal acts include holding a person to a condition of peonage; kidnapping or carrying away a person to sell the person into involuntary servitude or to be held as a slave; providing or obtaining a person’s services or labor by actual or threatened use of certain means including force, physical restraint, serious harm, and abuse of legal process; and sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion.
Under the law, a court must order restitution to a victim, directing a defendant to pay the full amount of the victim’s losses. The IRS said that such payments are excluded from the victim’s gross income for federal income tax purposes.
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