Wednesday, July 8, 2020 | 2 a.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt Americans across the country greatly, and will likely continue to do so. With so many people out of work and struggling, we can expect the plague of predatory lending, abusive debt collection, unfair credit reporting and more to get even worse. When that happens, consumers should be able to turn to laws that protect us. But to do that, we need Congress to lift an obscure and unfair tax penalty.
Right now, consumers who win legal claims against bad business practices actually risk losing money, thanks to an IRS policy that taxes them on reimbursed legal expenses they do not actually receive. If people are too afraid to pursue legitimate cases because they might suffer financially, then unscrupulous businesses will be let off the hook for preying on vulnerable Nevadans during this difficult time. Fortunately, Nevada lawmakers Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Steven Horsford are aware of this problem and have introduced a bill to fix it. The End Double Taxation of Successful Consumer Claims Act would end unjust tax penalties on consumers who stand up for their rights.
They should be commended for acting to end the IRS’s irrational policy. The new bill is an important step in rebuilding the strength of working people of this country and challenging the corruption and abuse that run rampant in the marketplace.
The writer is an attorney with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.