FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL COURT IN ALABAMA SHUTS DOWN
TAX RETURN PREPARATION FIRM
Florida Resident Falsified Low Income Customers’ Returns
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced today that Jacksonville, Florida resident Larry Baxter and his firm, Baxter and Associates Office of Accountancy, P.C., have been permanently barred from preparing federal income tax returns for others. In the opinion rendered on June 3, federal district court Judge Myron H. Thompson observed that Baxter “willfully used his position of trust” as a return preparer “to take advantage of the most vulnerable and needy.”
The civil injunction order was entered after a two-day trial in Dothan, Alabama. Dozens of customers testified at the trial that Baxter made up phony information on their tax returns, such as falsely listing customers as owning day care businesses when they had no such businesses. The court found that Baxter engaged in a pattern of filing fraudulent tax returns, inflating or fabricating business income and expenses, and falsely reporting charitable contributions and employee-expense deductions in order to obtain unwarranted higher tax refunds for his customers.
Baxter and Associates prepared income tax returns at offices located in Jacksonville, Florida, and in Dothan, Alabama. In a separate order entered earlier in the same case, the judge also barred Dothan, Alabama resident Anita Dawkins, a former Baxter employee, from preparing federal income tax returns for others.
“People who prepare false or fraudulent tax returns cheat their customers as well as the federal treasury in order to enrich themselves,” said Eileen J. O’Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “The Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service are working vigorously to stop their systematic abuses of the tax system.”
O’Connor thanked Michael R. Pahl, a Justice Department trial attorney who represented the government in the case, and revenue agent Mark DeJournett of the IRS’s Small Business/Self Employed Division, who investigated the case.
The injunction requires Baxter him to mail a copy of it to anyone for whom he prepared a tax-related document since January 1, 2000, and to file with the court a complete list of his customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and Social Security numbers. More information on this case is available at <http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv05033.htm>.
More information about the Justice Department's efforts against tax-scam promoters can be found at: <http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2005.htm>. Information about the Justice Department's Tax Division can be found at: <http://www.usdoj.gov/tax>.