CHAPTER TWO - PART T - OFFENSES INVOLVING TAXATION

§2T1.4. Aiding, Assisting, Procuring, Counseling, or Advising Tax Fraud

(a) Base Offense Level:

(1) Level from §2T4.1 (Tax Table) corresponding to the tax loss; or

(2) 6, if there is no tax loss.

    For purposes of this guideline, the “tax loss” is the tax loss, as defined in §2T1.1, resulting from the defendant’s aid, assistance, procurance or advice.

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If (A) the defendant committed the offense as part of a pattern or scheme from which he derived a substantial portion of his income; or (B) the defendant was in the business of preparing or assisting in the preparation of tax returns, increase by 2 levels.

(2) If the offense involved sophisticated means, increase by 2 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 12, increase to level 12.

Commentary

Statutory Provision: 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2) (other than a violation based upon 26 U.S.C. § 6050I).

Application Notes:

1. For the general principles underlying the determination of tax loss, see §2T1.1(c) and Application Note 1 of the Commentary to §2T1.1 (Tax Evasion; Willful Failure to File Return, Supply Information, or Pay Tax; Fraudulent or False Returns, Statements, or Other Documents). In certain instances, such as promotion of a tax shelter scheme, the defendant may advise other persons to violate their tax obligations through filing returns that find no support in the tax laws. If this type of conduct can be shown to have resulted in the filing of false returns (regardless of whether the principals were aware of their falsity), the misstatements in all such returns will contribute to one aggregate “tax loss.“

2. Subsection (b)(1) has two prongs. The first prong applies to persons who derive a substantial portion of their income through the promotion of tax schemes, e.g., through promoting fraudulent tax shelters. The second prong applies to persons who regularly prepare or assist in the preparation of tax returns for profit. If an enhancement from this subsection applies, do not apply §3B1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust or Use of Special Skill).

3. Sophisticated Means.—For purposes of subsection (b)(2), “sophisticated means” means especially complex or especially intricate offense conduct pertaining to the execution or concealment of an offense. Conduct such as hiding assets or transactions, or both, through the use of fictitious entities, corporate shells, or offshore financial accounts ordinarily indicates sophisticated means.

Background: An increased offense level is specified for those in the business of preparing or assisting in the preparation of tax returns and those who make a business of promoting tax fraud because their misconduct poses a greater risk of revenue loss and is more clearly willful. Other considerations are similar to those in §2T1.1.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendments 231 and 303); November 1, 1990 (see Appendix C, amendment 343); November 1, 1993 (see Appendix C, amendment 491); November 1, 1998 (see Appendix C, amendment 577); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 617).