TAXES: A Cheeky Defense

TAXES: A Cheeky Defense

In most cases, ignorance of the law is no excuse. But the U.S. Supreme Court made a rare exception last week, when it ruled that individuals may not be convicted of federal criminal tax violations if they sincerely believe they are exempt from income tax laws. The 6-to-2 decision set aside the one-year prison sentence and five years of probation imposed on American Airlines pilot John Cheek, who filed no returns for six years. Cheek's defense: he claimed that his salary was not taxable under the IRS code because he believed only gains or profits are income.

Tax chiselers are not...

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