2001 2h3_1

2001 Federal Sentencing Guideline Manual

§2H3.1. Interception of Communications; Eavesdropping; Disclosure of Tax Return Information

(a) Base Offense Level (Apply the greater):

(1) 9; or

(2) 6, if the defendant was convicted of 26 U.S.C. § 7213A or 26 U.S.C. § 7216.

(b) Specific Offense Characteristic

(1) If the purpose of the offense was to obtain direct or indirect commercial advantage or economic gain, increase by 3 levels.

(c) Cross Reference

(1) If the purpose of the offense was to facilitate another offense, apply the guideline applicable to an attempt to commit that other offense, if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.


Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. § 2511; 26 U.S.C. §§ 7213(a)(1)-(3), (a)(5), (d), 7213A, 7216; 47 U.S.C. § 605. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1. Definitions.—For purposes of this guideline, "tax return" and "tax return information" have the meaning given the terms "return" and "return information" in 26 U.S.C. § 6103(b)(1) and (2), respectively.

2. Satellite Cable Transmissions.—If the offense involved interception of satellite cable transmissions for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain (including avoiding payment of fees), apply §2B5.3 (Criminal Infringement of Copyright) rather than this guideline.

Background: This section refers to conduct proscribed by 47 U.S.C. § 605 and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, which amends 18 U.S.C. § 2511 and other sections of Title 18 dealing with unlawful interception and disclosure of communications. These statutes proscribe the interception and divulging of wire, oral, radio, and electronic communications. The Electronic

Communications Privacy Act of 1986 provides for a maximum term of imprisonment of five years for violations involving most types of communication.

This section also refers to conduct relating to the disclosure and inspection of tax returns and tax return information, which is proscribed by 26 U.S.C. §§ 7213(a)(1)-(3), (5), (d), 7213A, and 7216. These statutes provide for a maximum term of imprisonment of five years for most types of disclosure of tax return information, but provide a maximum term of imprisonment of one year for violations of 26 U.S.C. §§ 7213A and 7216.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 169); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 628).