In a move that highlights the potential hazards of tax preparation services, the US Justice Department has filed a lawsuit looking for to bar nine Florida tax return preparers and their associated businesses from participating within the preparation of federal income tax returns for others. This announcement should function a stark reminder for small businesses to thoroughly vet their tax preparation services.
The criticism, filed within the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges that these nine individuals, namely Richard Louis, Teddy Davis, James Merrill, Daniel Ouku, Demetrius Knowles, Harold Bornelus, Joseph Garrett, Marlyne Wah, and Romeo Davis, filed hundreds of fraudulent federal income tax returns for patrons via an unincorporated entity generally known as Taxman. The criticism further claims that their actions have resulted in america losing tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue.
Certainly one of the first fraudulent schemes allegedly utilized by the defendants was claiming illegitimate Residential Energy Credits on their customers’ tax returns. Moreover, it’s alleged that Louis and Taxman falsified and overstated business and itemized deductions on their customers’ tax returns and ready tax returns for patrons claiming the inaccurate filing status. The alleged actions have led to their customers receiving refunds to which they weren’t entitled.
David A. Hubbert, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, announced these allegations.
This development is especially crucial for small business owners who often depend on third-party tax preparers. Owners must remain vigilant against potentially unscrupulous tax preparers. The IRS offers helpful recommendations on how one can accurately file returns, how one can select a tax return preparer, and steps taxpayers can take to get a head start on filing.
The IRS also provides a free directory of federal tax preparers to help taxpayers in need. As well as, programs can be found offering free basic return preparation for qualifying seniors and individuals with low to moderate income. IRS Free File, a public-private partnership, offers free online tax preparation and filing options on IRS partner web sites for people whose adjusted gross income is under $72,000. For those over this threshold, IRS Free File offers electronic federal tax forms that may be filled out and filed online free of charge.
Over the past decade, the Department of Justice Tax Division has obtained injunctions against lots of of dishonest tax preparers, highlighting the importance of this issue. Details about these cases may be found on the Justice Department’s website, including an alphabetical listing of individuals enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes.
For small businesses, the message is evident: due diligence in choosing tax preparers is of the utmost importance. For those who suspect an enjoined person or business could also be violating an injunction, you’re urged to contact the Tax Division with details. The actions of the Justice Department function a reminder that the problem of tax preparation fraud is taken very seriously and can proceed to be aggressively pursued.
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