Under 26 U.S.C. § 7201, it is a felony for any person to willfully attempt to evade or defeat any tax imposed by the Internal Revenue Code or the payment thereof. The term 'willfully' implies a voluntary, intentional violation of a known legal duty. The statute covers all types of taxes, including income, employment, estate, and excise taxes. Penalties for violating this statute include a fine of up to $100,000 for individuals or $500,000 for corporations, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both, along with the costs of prosecution. The government must prove an affirmative act constituting an evasion or attempted evasion of the tax, such as filing a false return, failing to file a return, or concealing assets. The statute is a key provision in the enforcement of federal tax laws and is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice to prosecute tax evasion cases.
26 U.S.C. § 7206 criminalizes the act of willfully making and subscribing to any return, statement, or other document that the signer does not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter. This includes the act of assisting or advising in the preparation or presentation of such a document that is fraudulent or false. The penalties for violating this statute can include a fine of up to $100,000 for individuals or $500,000 for corporations, imprisonment for up to 3 years, or both, along with the costs of prosecution. This statute is often used in conjunction with § 7201 to prosecute individuals and entities that submit false information to the IRS with the intent to evade taxes.
26 U.S.C. § 7203 targets individuals and entities that willfully fail to file a required tax return, pay taxes due, or provide necessary information to the IRS. The term 'willfully' here also refers to a voluntary and intentional violation of a known legal duty. The penalties for this offense include a fine of up to $25,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations, imprisonment for up to 1 year, or both, in addition to the costs of prosecution. This statute is particularly relevant for cases where the failure to act (e.g., not filing a return) is used as a means to evade the assessment or payment of taxes.
26 U.S.C. § 7212 makes it illegal to corruptly or by force obstruct or impede, or endeavor to obstruct or impede, the due administration of the Internal Revenue Code. This includes acts such as intimidating or impeding IRS agents, or destroying or concealing records. The penalties for violating this statute can include a fine, imprisonment for up to 3 years, or both. This statute is often invoked in cases where individuals or entities take active steps to prevent the IRS from discovering or collecting taxes owed, which can be part of a broader tax evasion strategy.