Saturday, September 18, 2010

Picky, Picky - Tax Perjury is Not Tax Evasion / Fraud

I write just to note that the Third Circuit made a mistake that I hope my students do not make. In United States v. Riley, ___ F.3d ___ (3d Cir. 2010), 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 19310 (3d Cir. 2010) the defendant was convicted of three counts of tax perjury under Section 7206(1). It is elementary that tax perjury is not tax evasion (or tax fraud as it is sometimes called), which requires a key additional element of tax due and owing. In its opinion, the Third Circuit refers to the tax perjury counts of conviction as "tax fraud" and "tax evasion."

The error does not appear to have affected the opinion. The court reversed on the honest services conviction based on Skilling, but otherwise sustained the convictions.

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