State of Utah v. Gauruder

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State of Utah v. Gauruder, Case No. 20010047-CA, Filed June 7, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellee,


John Joseph Gauruder,
Defendant and Appellant.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20010047-CA

June 7, 2001 2001 UT App 188 -----

Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Sheila K. McCleve

John Joseph Gauruder, Tremonton, Appellant Pro Se
Mark L. Shurtleff and Kent M. Barry, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Greenwood, Billings, and Davis.


John Joseph Gauruder (Gauruder) appeals his convictions for failure to file tax returns in 1995, 1996, and 1997, and for tax evasion in 1995 and 1996, in violation of Utah Code Ann. § 76-8-1101 (b)-(c) (1999). According to these subsections, (b) Any person who, with intent to evade any tax or requirement of Title 59 or any lawful requirement of the State Tax Commission, fails to make, render, sign, or verify any return or to supply any information within the time required under this title, or who makes, renders, signs, or verifies any false or fraudulent return or statement, or who supplies any false or fraudulent information, is guilty of a third degree felony, except that, notwithstanding Section 76-3-301, the fine is not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000.

(c) Any person who willfully attempts to evade or defeat any tax or the payment thereof is, in addition to other penalties provided by law, guilty of a second degree felony, except that, notwithstanding Section 76-3-301, the fine is not less than $1,500 nor more than $25,000. Utah Code Ann. § 76-8-1101(b)-(c).

The evidence supports Gauruder's convictions. He had income in 1995, 1996, and 1997, but did not file tax returns until years after they were due. In 1995 and 1996, the years in which he made the most money, Gauruder willfully evaded payment of taxes.

Gauruder's claim that he is not obligated to pay Utah taxes is without merit. His attempted renunciation of his Utah residency does not overcome the fact that he resided in Utah during the years in question. Moreover, Gauruder's jurisdictional arguments are also without merit. The evidence shows that Gauruder had a Utah business license and a Utah driver's license since 1984 and that he had a business and patients who paid him for his chiropractic services during the years in which he failed to file tax returns and evaded taxes. As the Utah Supreme Court has said: [T]he mere assertion of a novel tax theory is not enough to avoid penalties for evading taxes. Irrational and unsupported interpretations of the tax code will not justify circumvention of the requirement to file and pay state taxes, especially when the Commission has notified a resident of his or her duty to do so. State v. Nelson, 903 P.2d 939, 940 (Utah 1995).

Gauruder's novel tax theories do not overcome the fact that he failed to meet his tax obligations under state law. The decision of the trial court is affirmed.

Pamela T. Greenwood,
Presiding Judge

Judith M. Billings, Judge

James Z. Davis, Judge