Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Court Rejects the Temporary Evasion Defense

In United States v. Jewell, 614 F.3d 911 (8th Cir. 2010), here, which I discussed in the addendum to last blog here, the Eighth Circuit rejected a notion in an earlier Ninth Circuit case that, a taxpayer intending only a temporary diversion of tax revenue but not a permanent one might not be guilty of tax evasion. Jewell was convicted of assisting his clients evade their taxes.  The Court said:
Jewell also claims he cannot be guilty of tax evasion because the Evanses eventually paid their taxes. Jewell relies upon a case from the Ninth Circuit for the proposition a defendant must intend a permanent escape from paying a tax and not merely a postponement. See Edwards v. United States, 375 F.2d 862, 867 (9th Cir. 1967) ("[E]vasion and defeat . . . contemplate an escape from tax and not merely a postponement of disclosure or payment."). The Eighth Circuit has not adopted such a position, however, and the Ninth Circuit itself has limited Edwards to the unique facts involved in that case, where there was no evidence at all of an intent to avoid payment of taxes, but merely to delay. See United States v. Huebner, 48 F.3d 376, 380 (9th Cir. 1994) (indicating the escape not postponement "statement in Edwards must be read in the light of the facts of that case."). The fact that the Evanses eventually reconciled their tax deficiency with the IRS does not exonerate Jewell where a reasonable jury could determine he had the intent to assist the Evanses with evading taxes in the tax year 2000.

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