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Are Legal Fees Tax Deductible For Freelancers - What Attorney Fees Can I Deduct in 2023?

Apr 13, 2023
(updated: Apr 21, 2023)
Max 5 min read

Legal fees can be an expensive burden for anyone involved in legal proceedings. Whether you're fighting a lawsuit or seeking legal advice, the costs of hiring an attorney for any legal issue can add up quickly. But did you know that some of these costs may be tax deductible, even if you are a freelancer? While there are some differences in how you have tax write-offs between a freelancer and a full-time employee, luckily when it comes to attorney fees — you can file it all the same. 

Many taxpayers (freelancing and full-time employees) do not understand which attorney fees are eligible for deduction when filing their 2023 taxes. In this blog post, we'll dive into the intricacies of deducting legal fees and help you navigate the confusing world of tax law. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready to save some money!

Overview of Legal Fees and Tax Deductions

The cost of legal fees can be a significant expense for individuals and businesses alike. Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows taxpayers to deduct legal fees from their taxes. This can help to offset the cost of these expenses and make them more affordable.

To be deductible, legal fees must be related to the production or collection of gross income or the management, conservation, or maintenance of property held for the production of income. In addition, the fees must be reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the proper conduct of business.

IRS Rules for Deducting Attorney’s Fees in 2023

In the question of are attorney fees tax deductible or not, the IRS has released new rules for deducting attorney’s fees in 2023. The new rules state that:

  1. You can only deduct attorney’s fees incurred in connection with a successful claim or suit. You should include fees related to whistleblower claims or unlawful discrimination claims on Form 1040.
  2. You can only deduct the portion of the attorney’s fees that are attributable to the work performed on your behalf.
  3. You can only deduct attorney’s fees that are paid directly to the attorney.
  4. You cannot deduct legal fees related to paying a third party, such as an expert witness or investigator.
  5. You cannot deduct any portion of the attorney’s fees that are for personal issues, family, or household purposes. For example, defending civil or criminal charges such as personal injury claims, premises liability claims, drunk driving charges, etc. are not deductible legal fees.

The amount of compensation you obtain before legal expenses must normally be included as your gross income when filing taxes if you successfully pursue a personal injury lawsuit and get Legal Settlements and Court Awards. So, when you go to pay taxes, you will not be able to get a tax return on attorney fees.

Are Court Costs Tax Deductible?

The answer to whether court costs are tax deductible depends on the type of case you are involved in. If you are involved in a criminal case, then court costs are not tax deductible. However, if you are involved in a civil case, then court costs may be tax deductible. Either civil or criminal charges related to personal relationships would not fall under the standard deduction.

When it comes to deducting legal fees from your taxes, there are two main categories: business-related expenses and personal injury expenses. Business-related expenses are those that are incurred in the course of operating your business. This could include legal fees associated with contracts, leases, or other business-related matters.

Personal injury expenses are those that are incurred as a result of physical or emotional injuries sustained due to someone else's negligence. This could include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

However, if you need to know more about tax laws, you can always seek tax advice from a professional!

Most Personal Legal Fees Are Not Deductible

It's important to note that most personal legal fees are not tax deductible. This includes litigation related to family law, personal injury, or criminal defense. However, you may be able to deduct certain professional fees associated with the management of your estate, such as probate or estate planning. You can also deduct certain legal expenses related to business, such as those related to the formation or operation of your business.

What Business Legal Fees Are Deductible?

Business legal fees are generally deductible as a business expense. However, there are some limitations on what types of fees may be deducted. For example, legal fees incurred in connection with the acquisition or sale of a business are not deductible as a business expense. Additionally, legal fees incurred in connection with personal matters are not deductible as a business expense.

Businesses can deduct a wide variety of legal fees incurred in the course of doing business. These include fees for incorporation, litigation, transactions, and more. The key is that the fees must be ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in the course of running the business.

Incorporation Fees

One common type of deductible legal fee is an incorporation fee. This is the fee charged by an attorney or other professional to help you set up your business as a corporation. This can be a significant expense, but it's an important one for many businesses. If you're unsure whether your incorporation fees are deductible, speak to your accountant or tax advisor.

Litigation Fees

If your business is involved in any kind of litigation, the resulting legal fees may be deductible. This includes both defense against lawsuits as well as lawsuits that you initiate yourself. As with incorporation fees, these must be ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in the course of running your business. Again, if you're unsure whether a particular legal fee is deductible, ask your accountant or tax advisor.

Transaction Fees

Another type of common deductible legal fee is a transaction fee. This includes any legal fees paid to an attorney in connection with a business transaction, such as buying or selling property or negotiating a contract. Like other types of deductible legal fees, transaction fees must be ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in the course of running your business.

Luckily, with Indy’s Invoices, you can have a clear understanding of all the transactions between you and your lawyer, so that you can easily file for tax return.


Knowing which legal fees are tax deductible in 2023 can save you money and help reduce your overall tax burden. As long as the fees were paid for services related to the production or collection of taxable income, you will be able to deduct them when filing taxes.

However, it is important to keep records of all expenses associated with legal services and consult a qualified accountant if you have any questions. With proper recordkeeping and knowledge of what attorney fees are eligible for a deduction, you will be able to maximize your savings this tax season.

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