Pennsylvania Wants to Tax Injured Workers, Others, For Legal Fees

If the State of Pennsylvania has its way, soon injured workers, and others who badly need legal services, will have to pay tax on top of those legal services. We find this to be a totally unnecessary kick in the pants to the entire labor market by a government who it would seem no longer cares about the average tax payer. Senate Bill 76, if enacted, would place a tax on those who can least afford it.

First an employee gets injured and has to deal with the pain, and disability, often following a work injury. Soon thereafter, especially if the entitlement to workers’ comp benefits is contested, the injured worker begins to suffer desperate financial harm. To have the best chance of succeeding, the injured worker often has to hire an attorney.

Once the injured worker waits what can be a year, or more, while a case winds its way through the PA workers’ compensation system, he or she may be successful in the litigation. Typically, an attorney in Pennsylvania receives a fee of 20% of the benefits due to the injured worker. If Senate Bill 76 is passed, the injured worker would have to then pay taxes, of 7% or more, on those legal services, further depleting the recovery.

It seems absurd that the Pennsylvania legislature would think it reasonable to tax an injured worker in this way. Getting the services of an attorney, to obtain desperately needed benefits stubbornly denied by a PA workers’ compensation insurance carrier, is hardly a “luxury.” We would submit that having legal representation for workers’ comp is a basic necessity, one which should not be taxed. Tax luxuries, tax extravagances, but you have to draw the line at so basic a need to survive.

We urge each and every citizen of Pennsylvania to immediately contact his or her State legislator, and tell them that this is not fair. Injured workers should not have to pay tax, on top of everything else thrown at them. Legal representation for a workers’ compensation case is a basic necessity. Tell your State legislator to vote NO on Senate Bill 76.

The Philadelphia Bar Association has made it easy to contact your legislator through its Legislative Action Center. Please, for yourself, and every other person working in Pennsylvania, tell those in Harrisburg that taxing those in desperate need is not the answer.