Federal authorities have sued a Palmdale man who they say promotes a tax scheme in which he helps people claim church status as a way to evade paying taxes.
Joseph O. Saladino, through a nonprofit corporation called Freedom & Privacy Committee headquartered at his home, assists customers to establish and claim church status for a type of company called a “corporation sole,” the lawsuit said.
“A corporation sole is supposed to be a method of clergy to essentially live in a church property or parsonage, but under the tax scheme method, people form their own church and form a corporation sole and start living tax-free. It’s a bogus outfit is what it is,” U.S. Department of Justice attorney Martin Shoemaker said. “That’s the promotion that he was selling to other people.”
Federal officials say Saladino and his organization falsely state that customers who use corporations sole do not need to file tax returns or pay taxes.
Saladino could not be located Tuesday for comment.
The Justice Department has asked the courts to order Saladino and seven other defendants across the United States, including a Tarzana man, to stop promoting the schemes and to provide the government with their customer lists.
More than 700 customers, located in nearly every state and several foreign countries, are reported to be in the program.
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