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U.S. Supreme Court Decision Says False Tax Return Grounds for Deportation

Posted on February 28th, 2012 | Author: Ted Margolis

The United States Supreme Court, in an opinion dated February 21, 2012, held that an alien convicted of willfully making and subscribing to a false corporate tax return in violation of 26 U.S.C. Section 7206 (1) may be deported. The defendant’s wife, who was convicted of one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of the false return in violation of 26 U.S.C. Section 7206 (2), was also subject to deportation.

The primary issue in the case was whether the convictions of these tax violations constituted crimes which involve fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victim or victims exceeded $10,000.  Justice Thomas, writing for the majority held that although Section 7206 does not use the terms “fraud” or “deceit” that the filing of a return which contains a false material matter requires that the defendant had to act willfully with specific intent to violate the law. Although “fraud” and “deceit” are absent from the text of Section 7206 the other elements of the offense require fraudulent or deceitful conduct.

The defendant’s wife was also found to be deportable because of her conviction of aiding and abetting her husband in his conduct.

In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justices Breyer and Kagan noted that the Court’s majority have made it possible for even a conviction of a tax misdemeanor to now be a deportable offense.

Akio Kawahima v. Holder, 565 U.S. ______(2012), decided Feb. 21, 2012