If you get paid to sit on a jury in a civil or criminal trial, the Internal Revenue Service considers that pay to be income, and you must report it as such on your tax return. If you receive $600 or more, the court will report your jury pay to the IRS.
Types of Jury Pay
Compensation that you receive for your service as a juror is taxable income. Reimbursements for such things as meals, lodging and parking fees are, however, not income. In the federal court system, for example, you receive $40 a day for serving on a jury. That's income, and it's taxable. If you drive to and from the courthouse, the government will also pay you about 50 cents a mile for your trouble. That's a reimbursement, and you don't have to report it on your taxes or pay any income taxes on it.
If you receive at least $600 in jury pay, the court must send you a copy of IRS Form 1099-MISC, which reports the total amount of compensation paid. Reimbursement money is not included on the 1099. Keep in mind that the court is free to send you a 1099-MISC for amounts less than $600, as well. The court also sends a copy of this form to the IRS, so if you get one, you can be sure that the IRS knows how much you made in jury pay. If you don't get one, you're still obligated to report and pay taxes on your jury pay.
Reporting the Income
If you received jury pay, you'll have to file your taxes using IRS Form 1040, the "long form" return. Include the amount received in jury pay (but not reimbursements) on the line provided for "Other Income," which is usually Line 21. In the space provided on that line for an explanation of the income, write "Jury pay."
Pay Passed to Employer
Often, an employer will continue to pay an employee's wages while that person misses work to serve on a jury, but it requires the worker to turn over the jury pay received from the court. If you had to pass along your jury compensation to your employer, you can take a deduction from your taxable income, so that you won't get taxed on that money. There's no line on the 1040 dedicated to this deduction, but you can include it on the line where you total adjustments to your gross income, usually Line 36. Write "Jury pay" in the space provided on this line for explanations.