The Supreme Court will decide a case, United States v. Marinello, 839 F.3d 209 (2d Cir. 2016), this term on the proper reach of the tax obstruction-of-justice statute, 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a). Many practitioners believe that the courts have granted prosecutors too much discretion in applying the statute to taxpayers’ efforts to frustrate the IRS’s assessment and collection of taxes. Others believe that the courts have interpreted the statute correctly.
In a quote from the article:
Jay R. Nanavati of Kostelanetz & Fink LLP said, “The statute’s fine on its face. It does not criminalize accidents.” Nanavati added, “[t]he remedy [that many practitioners are] seeking, a requirement of proof of knowledge of an investigation, doesn’t address their concern. I just don’t know how the requirement of knowledge of the existence of an investigation substantially reduces the risk of criminalizing negligent destruction of records or aggressive tax planning,” he said. “Maybe ‘corruptly’ is not a high enough level of mens rea, but I’m comfortable with it.”