Acworth, GA asked in Criminal Law for Georgia

Q: If I joke that I sell seashells by the seashore during a deposition, am I committing perjury?

I am doing legal research for a YouTube video in response to someone who seems to believe that a character saying, "on my tax returns, it says I sell seashells by the seashore, but I moonlight a bit" as a way of saying he does oddjobs, is somehow equivalent to perjury.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Teri A. Walter
Teri A. Walter

A: Perjury is an untruthful statement under oath. Nothing in your post suggests that the person was untruthful, just flippant and probably evasive in a situation that calls for serious answers.

Glenn T. Stern
Glenn T. Stern pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: I'm not a tax lawyer, but typically perjury involves the intent to mislead and must be on a material fact in question. In this case, I would expect the IRS to possibly follow up with you and ask for clarification on your job, but I don't think anyone would reasonably believe you intended to criminally mislead the IRS about what you do for a living.

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