Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tenth Affirms Applying the Higher of Two Possible Guidelines When Sentencing for Interfering with Administration of Tax Law

U.S. v. Neilson, 2013 WL 3306368 (7/2/13) (Ut.) (Published) - The 10th reviews de novo which guideline to apply to interfering with the administration of the IRS laws. The question is whether the defendant's conduct as a whole is akin to the offenses under the tax guideline, § 2T1.1 or under the obstruction of justice guideline, § 2J1.2. The defendant used 3rd parties to transfer property to trusts to avoid taxes, reported different financial information to the IRS than he did to a lender, and mailed "frivolous" letters seeking to "redeem" the value of his birth certificate and other similar wacko Redemption stuff. The 10th decided this conduct had more in common with tax than obstruction offenses, e.g. a case where the defendant obstructed a tax auction. So the 10th affirms the district court's application of § 2T1.1, which resulted in a higher guideline range than under § 2J1.2.