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Friday, December 30, 2005

Attorney's Willful Failure to Pay Income Taxes Is Not a "Serious Crime"and Thus Does Not Justify Disbarment

From Howard Bashman:

Attorney's willful failure to pay income taxes did not justify order disbarring him from practice in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Fourth Circuit panel rules: Today's ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit -- holding that willful failure to pay income taxes is not a "serious crime" -- can be accessed here [In Re: John Ashton Wray, No. 05-1106 (4th Cir. Dec. 29, 2005)].

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2005/12/attorneys_willf.html

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Comments

Having just read the 4th Circuit's opinion, I must agree with it. This is a matter of technical construction of a rule, and the 4th Circuit interprets the rule correctly. The lawyer in question properly filed his tax returns, but being deeply in debt, he paid off certain business creditors rather than the United States. The 4th Circuit notes that no deceit was involved, although that was not crucial to its opinion. This is a case where the headline sounds outrageous, but I think the 4th Circuit was correct.

Posted by: The NJ Annuitant | Dec 30, 2005 11:01:20 AM