Assaults Upon Internal Revenue Service Personnel
Prosecutions of assaults upon Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
can be instituted under either 18 U.S.C. § 111 or 26 U.S.C.
The latter statute provides a particularly helpful alternative in cases
there is simply an offer of violence unaccompanied by the potential for
use of physical force. In contrast to 18 U.S.C. § 111 where it is
to establish that the defendant forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed,
intimidated, or interfered with the Federal officer, under 26 U.S.C. §
7212(a) a mere threat of force, including a threat conveyed by letter, is
sufficient to constitute an offense. However, to constitute a violation of
statute, the statement must be a true threat as opposed to simply a coarse
statement of opposition to the practices of the IRS and its agents.
Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705, 708 (1969). Further, unlike 18
U.S.C. § 111, 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a) requires that the
knowledge by the defendant of the IRS agent's official capacity. United
States v. Johnson, 462 F.2d 423 (3d Cir. 1972), cert. denied,
U.S. 937 (1973); United States v. Rybicki, 403 F.2d 599 (6th Cir.
Normally, prosecutions should be instituted under 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a)
when the nature and gravity of the threat is sufficient to impede operations
the IRS. Prosecutions should generally not be undertaken in instances of
picayune threats in which the only purpose to be served is to shield IRS
with a special inviolability not accorded other Federal investigative
[cited in USAM 9-65.600]