On Monday, a federal judge for the Eastern District Court of Louisiana approved a settlement between BP and the United States for $20 billion to settle claims related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Of that amount, $5.5 billion represented a Clean Water Act penalty, which is nondeductible under Internal Revenue Code sec. 162(f) (barring deductions for "any fine or similar penalty paid to a government for the violation of any law"). However, $15.3 billion of this settlement qualifies for a business tax deduction.
In many of the cases we handle, our tax attorneys are able to reach a settlement through negotiations with the other side. However, this isn't always possible, especially if the parties simply do not agree on an issue, or the issue involves an area of law that is unresolved.