Wrongly convicted won't pay taxes on compensation

DALLAS (AP) - Former inmates who were wrongly convicted are welcoming an IRS ruling that means they'll no longer have to pay taxes on compensation payments.

Some inmates say the old policy was like being cheated twice: They were wrongly imprisoned, and then the government that locked them up taxed them on the money they were paid to make amends.

The change in policy amounts to a massive savings for the wrongly convicted in Texas, which leads the nation with 40 DNA exonerations.

Cory Session's wrongly convicted brother Tim Cole died in prison before he could be cleared by DNA testing. Session says the exonerees were thrilled with the rule change.

One made Session repeat the news to his wife over the telephone.

Lufkin bondsman James Giles spent ten years behind bars for a crime committed by someone else.

He and others say the former policy was like being cheated twice.

Giles spent several days in Washington, lobbying for the change.

"Every one of us that were wrongly convicted, it damaged their character so bad," Giles said. "Anything they give you, it should be given and not be where your about to pay taxes at a later date."

Giles isn't finished lobbying for change.

Next year, he says he's going to Austin to take on health insurance for the wrongly convicted.

These former inmates, he says, should get health coverage from the state.

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