Taxpayer Was Convicted of Failure to File a Tax Returns Based Upon IRS Transcript U.S. v. Maga, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 6867 (6th Cir. 2012)


U.S. v. Maga,   2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 6867 (6th Cir. 2012)

        Dominic Maga  appealed his conviction for failing to file income tax returns, arguing the trial proceedings violated his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation, that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio erroneously denied  his motion for acquittal for lack of evidence that  he acted "willfully" under I.R.C. § 7203, and abused its discretion in denying his motion for a new trial.

        An IRS employee testified that he generated  tax transcripts, that previously did not exist, by accessing the master computer file. The incriminating information, that no records of filing returns existed, came from the act of generating the forms, not his act of verifying, signing, or affixing a seal.  He was then the proper person to cross-examine. He confirmed that he knew the contents well, even though he could not testify to the physical appearance of the electronic documents.  An adequate opportunity to cross-examine was provided.

        The defendant's opposition to filing taxes predated his research into an "MFR-01" code in his transcript and before an IRS letter explained it meant "IRS Form 1040 not required". The letter expressly warned that it was not an IRS determination that returns were not required. Even if it excused filing an IRS Form 1040, defendant could not have inferred he did not have to file any returns. The prosecutor merely emphasized the peculiarity of defendant's analysis of the code, consistent with the theory that such an odd interpretation could not have been sincerely believed.

        The conviction was affirmed.

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