Spies vs. United States

Posted by Bader Alotaibi.

Murray R. Spies was found guilty of attempting to dodge income tax. The case turned on the determination of the exact sum of tax and how to collect and manage accounts and revenues.

“Petitioner admitted at the opening of the trial that he had sufficient income during the year in question to place him under a statutory duty to file a return and to pay a tax, and that he failed to do either.” The government sought to show Spies committed tax evasion. Petitioner testified as to his good personality, his illness at the period he filed his return and the lack of will, mainly because of mental disturbance, which signified something more than anxiety, but less than madness. At his trial, Spies asked for this instruction: “You cannot conclude that the Defendant is shamefaced of a considered attempt to defeat and avoid income tax if you discover that Murray R. Spies has not intentionally rendered taxable returns and has willingly unsuccessful to pay income taxes on that earnings.”

The Court reversed holding, “[W]e think a defendant is entitled to a charge which will point out the necessity for such an inference of willful attempt to defeat or evade tax from some proof in the case other than that necessary to make out the misdemeanors, and if the evidence fails to afford such an inference, the defendant should be acquitted.”

Bader is an MBA student at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.

Work cited