Kevin Scott Wynn

The IRS claims that Kevin Scott Wynn stopped paying income tax in 1995 and instead used the money to support his lifestyle. Wynn has a residence in Alpine and another in Mesa.

PHOENIX—Alpine property owner Kevin Scott Wynn is defending criminal charges relating to what the federal government says is tax evasion. The United States of America indicted Wynn in the Arizona District Court in Phoenix on December 18, 2018, for one count of felony tax evasion and three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns for 2011, 2012, and 2013. The government claims he owes at least $750,000 in back taxes.

Wynn wrote to The Independent shortly after being indicted claiming that it is his understanding that paying income taxes is voluntary. He has asked the IRS “3-4 times” to send him a letter stating “I Must/Mandatory, File and Pay an Income Tax,” or else he would “choose to Not Continue to Voluntarily Participate.” Of all the times Wynn says that he’s talked with or met with IRS officials, they all have refused to provide him with that letter, he says.

But the feds did send him something: a summons and a criminal complaint. Wynn faces up to six years in prison.

Wynn hired a lawyer out of Los Angeles, one Robert E. Barnes who appeared with Wynn in January to enter a plea of not guilty. The court released Wynn on his own recognizance, but required him to surrender his passport and imposed other conditions such as not leaving the state of Florida for more than seven days at a time. Wynn lives in Florida.

Since then, Wynn has filed motions asking for the release conditions to be relaxed so that he could travel out of state on business for longer than seven days. Wynn claims he is in the construction business and travels often to produce bids. So far, he has filed eight such motions and the court has granted each one, probably because he has meticulously complied with other conditions such as physical and mental health medical testing.

The idea that paying taxes is voluntary likely comes from a disjointed reading of a phrase in the 1960 U.S. Supreme Court case of Flora v United States, which reads: “{o}ur system of taxation is based upon voluntary assessment and payment, not upon distraint.” “Distraint” means by force, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. Various government advisories say that the Supreme Court meant that the assessment by the taxpayer of the amount he or she owes is voluntary, but the payment part is mandatory.

In the meantime, the government has filed with the court its intention to produce evidence at trial showing that, among other things, in 2010, he listed his monthly income as $65,000 when applying for a loan to buy a BMW automobile.

Trial is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Reach the reporter at rlynch@wmicentral.com

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