On December 4, 2020, the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s willfulness jury instruction in a criminal payroll tax case under I.R.C. § 7202, which followed the familiar definition of willfulness found in Cheek v. United States, 498 U.S. 192, 201 (1991). In United States v. Gilmore, No. 20-1234 (3d Cir. Dec. 4, 2020), the Third Circuit rejected the defendant’s contention that willfulness requires knowledge that the defendant’s conduct is criminal, affirming that “willfulness in the context of tax crimes merely requires knowledge and violation of a duty.” Slip Op. at 6.

In Gilmore, the
defendant was an attorney and had exclusive control over his law firm’s
finances, including expenditures and taxes.… Read More