Door to the Office of the Attorney General at the Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
An audit of the tax returns prepared by a man from Wichita Falls, Texas, showed he grossly overstated the deductions and expenses of his customers, all 106 of whom are members of Idaho’s refugee community, the Idaho Attorney General’s Office announced in a press release.
Bushambale Kashunga was investigated by the attorney general’s office and agreed to a settlement that was announced on Friday, according to the release. He has denied the allegations of overstating deductions and expenses for his clients.
Under Idaho’s consumer protection laws, it is unlawful for a tax preparer to make or authorize “any statement written or oral which is untrue or misleading” relating to their tax preparation services. It is also unlawful to make false promises that are likely to persuade or induce a consumer to authorize tax preparation services.
Under the terms of the settlement, Kashunga is barred from preparing Idaho tax returns and paid $51,640 to reimburse the clients who owed taxes as a result of his preparations, according to the release. He also agreed to reimburse the Idaho Attorney General’s Office for its investigative costs in the amount of $5,000.
“I ask consumers to be cautious when someone claims they can produce a tax refund that seems too good to be true,” Wasden said in the release. “When a tax return contains incorrect information, the taxpayer can quickly become the focus of an audit. If problems are identified, that individual could have to repay their refund as well as interest and penalties. It’s just not worth it.”
The agreement also stipulates that if Kashunga is approached by an Idaho customer, he may only to refer them to the International Rescue Committee or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at Boise State University.
Wasden also thanked the Idaho State Tax Commission in the release.
“I want to thank the Tax Commission for identifying this situation and then taking a deeper look to determine the scope of the problem,” he said. “The commission’s diligence started a process that resulted in the recovery of a significant amount of money for those affected and the preparer can no longer do this type of work in Idaho. I’m grateful for this outcome.”
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