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The Champion

September-October 2017 , Page 16 

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Renewed Government Focus on Section 7212(a): What Does It Mean to Corruptly Endeavor to Impede the IRS?

By Kathryn Keneally and Michael J. Scarduzio

The “omnibus” clause of Section 7212(a) of Title 26, the Internal Revenue Code, imposes criminal liability on any person who “corruptly … obstructs or impedes, or endeavors to obstruct or impede, the due administration” of the Internal Revenue Code.1 The language and structure of Section 7212(a) are similar to obstruction of justice offenses set out in Sections 1503 and 1505 of Title 18. Section 7212(a) can be seen as an anomaly in the context of criminal tax offenses, however, and it has been the subject of much criticism over the years.2 

Two recent developments create heightened concerns about the risks of too broad an interpretation of Section 7212(a). First, the Tax Division of the Department of Justice has stated that the government will consider charges under Section 7212(a) to prosecute taxpayers who the government believes made false statements to the IRS in connection with a voluntary disclosure of foreign bank accounts. Starting in 2009, the IRS has announced

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