4.26.7206 False Statements on Income Tax Return, 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) See Statute

[Defendant] is charged with willfully filing a false federal income tax return. It is against federal law to engage in such conduct. For you to find [defendant] guilty of this charge, the government must prove each of the following things beyond a reasonable doubt:

First, that [defendant] signed a federal income tax return containing a written declaration that it was being signed under the penalties of perjury;

Second, that [defendant] did not believe that every material matter in the return was true and correct; and

Third, that [defendant] willfully made the false statement with the intent of violating [his/her] duty under the tax laws and not as a result of accident, negligence or inadvertence.

A “material” matter is one that is likely to affect the calculation of tax due and payable, or to affect or influence the IRS in carrying out the functions committed to it by law, such as monitoring and verifying tax liability. A return that omits material items necessary to the computation of taxable income is not true and correct.


(1) Materiality is a question for the jury, and the definition of materiality here comes largely from United States v. DiRico, 78 F.3d 732, 735-36 (1st Cir. 1996). The standard is objective. United States v. Romanow, 509 F.2d 26, 28 (1st Cir. 1975).

(2) See Comment to Instruction 4.26.7201 (Income Tax Evasion) for a discussion of willfulness, good faith and deliberate ignorance in the context of tax crimes. See also United States v. Pomponio, 429 U.S. 10, 11-13 (1976); United States v. Bishop, 412 U.S. 346, 360 (1973); United States v. Drape, 668 F.2d 22, 26 (1st Cir. 1982) (“Intent may be established where a taxpayer ‘chooses to keep himself uninformed as to the full extent that [the return] is insufficient.’” (quoting Katz v. United States, 321 F.2d 7, 10 (1st Cir. 1963)) (alteration in original)).

(3) The defendant’s signature on the tax return is sufficient to support a finding by the jury that he or she read the return and knew its contents. United States v. Olbres, 61 F.3d 967, 971 (1st Cir. 1995); Drape, 668 F.2d at 26; Romanow, 509 F.2d at 27.

(4) The instruction can be modified to apply to a willful omission of material facts on a tax return. See Siravo v. United States, 377 F.2d 469, 472 (1st Cir. 1967) (“[A] return that omits material items necessary to the computation of income is not ‘true and correct’ within the meaning of section 7206.”).