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Tax Violations

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 46 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2009 Pages: 1099-1143
Suneel J. Nelson; Rollo C. Baker
Date Published
44 pages
This article addresses the elements, defenses, and sentencing of various criminal tax violations under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.), sections 7201, 7202, 7203, 7206, and 7212(a).
Section 7201 has been called the “capstone” of criminal tax statutes. In order to prove a violation of section 7201, the government must show the existence of a tax deficiency, an affirmative act that constitutes an evasion or attempted evasion of the tax, and willfulness. Section 7202 applies primarily to employers, as it criminalizes willful failure to collect any required tax under the I.R.C. and willful failure to truthfully account for and pay over-due taxes. Under section 7203, taxpayers may be prosecuted for a misdemeanor if they willfully fail to fulfill one or more of the following requirements: paying an estimated tax, paying a tax, filing a tax return, keeping legally required tax records, or supplying required tax-related information. Under section 7206, it is a violation for taxpayers to willfully file false documents or to assist others in the same action. Under section 7206(2), it is unlawful to “aid or assist” a taxpayer in the preparation of a false tax return. Elements of this offense are an act of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a return, affidavit, claim, or other document; material falsity; and willfulness. Section 7212(a), the “omnibus clause,” criminalizes attempts to interfere with the administration of internal revenue laws through corrupt or forcible acts. This applies to any person who impeded the “collection of one’s taxes, the taxes of another, or the auditing of one’s or another’s tax records.” Defenses for violations for each of the aforementioned sections of the I.R.C. are outlined, as are sanctions under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Also discussed are the features of criminal investigations of the aforementioned alleged violations. 308 notes


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