Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Immigration Consequences of a Criminal Tax Conviction

By Megan L. Brackney
Criminal Justice Magazine
Fall 2010 Edition

The recent turnover of information by UBS AG in Swit­zerland regarding United States taxpayers with previ­ously unreported foreign accounts has resulted in a wave of criminal tax prosecutions. This enforcement initiative has ensnared many noncitizen taxpayers who may suffer the double impact of a criminal conviction and automatic and per­manent removal from the United States. This article focuses on the immigration consequences of tax c1imes generally and in the specific context of the willful failure to report an offshore account. The article begins with some background on the prosecution of taxpayers with unreported offshore accounts; it then discusses the most commonly charged tax crimes and the current state of the immigration law as to whether federal tax crimes other than tax evasion are indeed removable offenses. It concludes by presenting some ideas for ameliorating the im­migration consequences of conviction for a tax crime.

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