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Tax Deductions for Jury Duty Pay and Expenses

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

If you served jury duty, you may have received pay from the court for your time. If so, that income is taxable and you must report it at tax time. You may also have incurred expenses to perform your civic duty, which the court may have reimbursed you for. This also counts as income. How you handle jury duty pay and expenses can depend on your employment and the expenses you incurred to attend jury duty.


Tax Deduction for Paying Back Your Employer

Empty jury box in a courtroom

Many salaried or wage-earning employees receive regular pay or paid leave from an employer while on jury duty. In addition, many courts pay jurors for performing jury duty. Both forms of pay are considered taxable income.

Employers who pay their employees for jury duty often require the employees to turn over any earnings they received from the court. In such a situation, you would claim the payment as income and then take a tax deduction for your jury duty pay that you gave to your employer

Example: You receive $100 in jury duty pay. You turn that $100 over to your employer, who continued to pay your salary while you were on jury duty. The net gain from your jury duty service is zero ($100 - $100 = $0).

As a result, you can take a tax deduction, which offsets taxable income, so you only pay taxes on the amount of money you took home.

Note that taking the deduction is slightly different from not having earned the jury duty money in the first place. You must declare the $100 of income from jury duty, but you can also take a $100 tax deduction.

Many states require employers to provide at least some pay to workers on jury duty, but not all states do. Jury duty typically pays between $10 and $30 per day. As a result, jurors not paid by their employers usually suffer a loss of income.

For example:

  • A juror who normally earns $7.25 per hour and is not paid by the employer would lose $58 per day in regular earnings.
  • The court might pay only $20 a day for jury duty, meaning the juror would lose a net $38 a day in income ($58 - $20 = $38).
  • A juror who serves for five days would lose $190 ($38 x 5 = $190). This lost income cannot be deducted on the juror’s tax return.

Parking, Miles, and Meals

Some courts will reimburse jurors for expenses such as parking, transportation and even meals. Since these are reimbursements, they typically would not be included in any taxable income that the court reports to you.

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The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


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