Business Law

Business Law News 2016, ISSUE 1

Taxing California Elder Abuse Recoveries

Robert W. Wood

Robert W. Wood is a tax lawyer with Wood LLP, and the author of numerous tax books including Taxation of Damage Awards & Settlement Payments. This discussion is not intended as legal advice.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice report that each year, up to 5 million older persons are abused, neglected, or exploited.1 Some studies even suggest that as few as one in 23 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities.2 Legislatures in all 50 states have passed some form of elder abuse prevention laws. The laws vary considerably, but abuse can generally be broken into multiple categories, including:

  • Physical Abuse, generally involving the infliction of physical pain or injury on a senior;
  • Sexual Abuse, involving non-consensual sexual contact of any kind;
  • Neglect, such as by failing to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder;
  • Exploitation, involving the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a senior for someone else’s benefit;
  • Emotional Abuse, including the infliction of mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through humiliation, intimidation, or threats; and
  • Abandonment, involving the desertion of a vulnerable elder by someone with responsibility for care or custody.3

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