The conventional Lorenz–Mie formalism is extended to the case for a coated sphere embedded in an absorbing medium. The apparent and inherent scattering cross sections of a particle, derived from the far field and near field, respectively, are different if the host medium is absorptive. The effect of absorption within the host medium on the phase-matrix elements associated with polarization depends on the dielectric properties of the scattering particle. For the specific cases of a soot particle coated with a water layer and an ice sphere containing an air bubble, the phase-matrix elements –P12/P11 and P3P11 are unique if the shell is thin. The radiative transfer equation for a multidisperse particle system embedded within an absorbing medium is discussed. Conventional multiple-scattering computational algorithms can be applied if scaled apparent single-scattering properties are applied.