Federal Court Blocks Tax Avoidance Scheme

A federal court has temporarily stopped a Colorado couple from promoting their "expatriation/repatriation" tax avoidance scheme.

Chief Judge Lewis T. Babcock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado issued a preliminary injunction barring the couple from selling advice that encouraged individuals to renounce their “United States citizenship” for “American citizenship” and stop paying federal income taxes.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday estimated that Austin Gary Cooper and his wife, Martha E. Cooper, charged as many as 2,000 people for their advice. For a $1,595 fee, customers received a package of documents to be filed with various federal agencies that would purportedly remove them from the federal tax rolls and seek a refund for taxes already paid.

"The Department of Justice is committed to shutting down the promotion of tax scams," said Eileen J. O'Connor, assistant attorney general for the department's tax division. "People who participate in these scams can face sizable civil and criminal penalties, including substantial jail sentences."

Austin Gary Cooper said he didn't recognize the authority of the federal officials who issued the injunction. He is founder and trustee of The Ten Foundation and Taking Back America of Loveland, Colorado.

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