Attempts to Interfere With Administration of Internal Revenue Laws

A. Attempts to Interfere With Administration of Internal Revenue Laws Statute – IRC 7212

(a) Corrupt or Forcible Interference.–Whoever corruptly or by force or threats of force (including any threatening letter or communication) endeavors to intimidate or impede any officer or employee of the United States acting in an official capacity under this title, or in any other way corruptly or by force or threats of force (including any threatening letter or communication) obstructs or impedes, or endeavors to obstruct or impede, the due administration of this title, shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both, except that if the offense is committed only by threats of force, the person convicted thereof shall be fined not more than $3,000, or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both. The term “threats of force,” as used in this subsection, means threats of bodily harm to the officer or employee of the United States or to a member of his family.

e(b) Forcible Rescue of Seized Property.–Any person who forcibly rescues or causes to be rescued any property after it shall have been seized under this title, or shall attempt or endeavor so to do shall, excepting in cases otherwise provided for, for every such offense, be fined not more than $500, or not more than double the value of the property so rescued, whichever is the greater, or be imprisoned not more than 2 years.

B. Interpretation of IRC 7212

Section 7212 describes 3 crimes: (1) corrupt or forcible interference; (2) corrupt endeavors to impede; and (3) forcible rescue of seized property.

1. Corrupt or Forcible Interference

The elements of this crime from IRC 7212(a) are:

  1. Use of force or threats of force;
  2. To intimidate, impede or obstruct;
  3. An officer or employee of the US acting in official capacity under the Internal Revenue Code.

The statute of limitations for this offense is 6 years.

Examples of crimes under this section are:

2. Corrupt Endeavors to Impede

This is also called the Omnibus Clause because it encompasses corrupt behavior in addition to force or threats of force that are intended to obstruct with the administration of the Internal Revenue Code.

a. Elements of the Omnibus Clause

The elements of the Omnibus Clause are:

  1. A corrupt effort, endeavor or attempt;
  2. To impede, obstruct or interfere with;
  3. Due administration of the Internal Revenue Code.

The statute of limitations for this offense is 6 years.

b. Corrupt

A corrupt act is one done with the intention to secure an unlawful benefit for oneself or another. This element provides a lot of room to work with because evidence of an improper motive or bad purpose is not sufficient to prove corruption.

c. Examples of Corrupt Endeavors to Impede

There are four typical categories of corrupt endeavors to impede. Those categories, and examples in this categories are as follows:

  1. Action intended to harass IRS employees or the IRS.
    1. Filing fraudulent petition to put IRS agent into bankruptcy.
    2. Filing frivolous common lien against IRS agent.
    3. Filing false complaints against an agent.
  2. Causing the IRS to improperly harass a third party.
    1. Filing false forms that cause assessments and investigations against third parties. Filing false Form 1099s for example.
  3. Attempting to impede IRS investigations and preventing tax avoidance schemes.
    1. Attempting to impede third parties from responding to lawful IRS summons.
    2. Filing false documents with IRS special agents to deflect investigation.
  4. Establishing a scheme to avoid payment of taxes.
    1. Soliciting donations on pretense that the donations were tax deductible even though they were not.
    2. Defendant attorney creating corporation to allow drug dealing client to disguise character of income and avoid reporting income in tax year earned.
    3. Assisting people in filing false forms.

3. Forcible Rescue of Seized Property

The elements of this crime are:

  1. A person authorized under the IRC has seized property;
  2. The defendant knows that the property was seized by a person with authority to do so; and
  3. The defendant forcible retakes that property.

The statute of limitations for this offense is 3 years.

C. Conclusion

Care must be exercised if you are or suspect you are being investigated by the IRS for this crime. This crime carries a one to three year sentence in federal prison, and it has elements that are very similar to the more serious evasion charges. Additionally, careless or evasive behavior in the course of a regular investigation for a lesser crime could lead to more serious charges under this state being filed. If you are or suspect you are being investigated by the IRS, then it is important that you have counsel to assist you in interrogations and investigation. Call our office at (408) 459-8427 for criminal legal representation.