WASHINGTON – A federal court has permanently barred Rita Augustus from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. Augustus prepared tax returns in Chicago under the business names Windy City Tax Service and Windy City Insurance Agency Inc. The civil injunction order, to which Augustus consented, was signed by Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
According to the government complaint , Augustus has included fabricated charitable donations, employee business expenses and other deductions on tax returns that she has prepared since 2006. For tax years 2005 through 2009, Augustus allegedly prepared more than 4,000 federal income tax returns for customers with an unusually high refund rate. According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that her return preparation activity for those years could have resulted in as much as $20 million or more in lost tax revenue.
The court order requires Augustus to provide the government with a list identifying all persons for whom she prepared federal tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2009. The court also required her to post a copy of the order at her business address in a place visible to potential customers.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2011. In the past 10 years, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of tax return preparers and tax fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website .