University of Miami Law Review


Ian M. Comisky


The government will often suspect a taxpayer of tax evasion if it discovers that the taxpayer's net worth has increased and that the taxpayer did not report the full amount of the increase as taxable income. If the government can establish a likely source for the increase, a jury will be permitted to infer that the taxpayer derived the increase from currently taxable and unreported income. In this article, the author discusses the origins, development, and varied applications of this "likely source inference." Then, after critically examining the constitutional underpinnings of the inference, the author argues that the inference is unconstitutional as presently applied by most courts. The author concludes by suggesting how the doctrine can be modified to permit its continued use.