Under the Internal Revenue Code, employers are responsible for accounting for and paying over to the IRS taxes that they withhold from their employees. In United States v. Sertich, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that an employer who willfully fails either to account for or to pay over such taxes commits a felony under 26 U.S.C. § 7202. In this article, we address Sertich’s holding that, while Section 7202 lists a series of acts using the conjunctive “and,” the statute imposes mandatory obligations, all of which must be affirmatively fulfilled. Sertich is also noteworthy in its discussion of the government’s heightened burden of proving willfulness in criminal tax cases.
'United States v. Sertich': Affirmative Obligations of Taxpayers (PDF | 413.83 KB)