An Olympia, Washington tax preparer was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to two years in prison for a tax fraud scheme in which he falsely claimed tax refunds while victimizing his clients, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. KYLE BAXTER, 31, pleaded guilty in July 2014 for the scheme that netted him more than $250,000 over three years. “You were evil and criminal while doing this,” said U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan. “These are serious offenses that hurt a group of people and the public.”
Court records in the case reveal BAXTER admitted that from 2010 through 2013, he represented himself to be a provider of tax preparation services operating under the name “Baxtax.” BAXTER maintained a website for “Baxtax,” and promoted his services through advertisement in local media, even though BAXTER never obtained a Preparer Tax Identification Number, ordinarily required of any person or entity that prepares tax returns for a fee. During that three-year period, BAXTER, a firefighter, filed at least 280 tax returns. Many of his clients were fellow firefighters, as well as emergency medical technicians and paramedics. In many filings, BAXTER claimed deductions and credits for which his clients were plainly ineligible, such as child tax credits for clients without children. The false filings increased the refunds paid by the IRS to the clients. BAXTER provided clients paper copies of tax returns purportedly reflecting their filings. However, the copies were not what had been provided to the IRS. BAXTER actually filed returns with distorted numbers that yielded even larger refunds, and BAXTER secretly diverted significant portions of these refunds to himself. Over the course of the scheme, BAXTER stole at least $250,000 in taxpayer funds by partially diverting refund payments in this manner. BAXTER was ordered to pay $255,033 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Cohen.