Justice Department Sues to Shut Down Florida Tax Return Preparers
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District Of Florida announced on February 23, 2021 in a press release that the Justice Department (DOJ) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida seeking to bar three Miami Gardens-area tax return preparers and their businesses and franchises, from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and preparing tax returns for others. The DOJ simultaneously filed a request for a preliminary injunction that would immediately prohibit the defendants from further preparing taxes during the pendency of the suit.
Details Of The Complaint Filed By DOJ.
According to the DOJ, the civil suit against John L. Gay Jr., Tammi King, and Norman G. Williams Jr. (United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Case Number 1:21-cv-20707) also seeks an order requiring defendants to disgorge ill-gotten return preparation fees obtained through their alleged misconduct. The complaint alleges Mr. Gay is the owner of The Tax Doctor LLC and operates three locations in the Miami Gardens-area under that name. The complaint further alleges that The Tax Doctor LLC has two franchises, one in Miami and one in Ft. Lauderdale, that are owned and operated by King under the names Kingsworld Financial Services Inc. and Brightstar Management Corp. The complaint also alleges that Williams works as one of King’s tax return preparers as a second job.
According to the complaint, defendants manipulated Florida-area taxpayers’ returns — often without taxpayers’ knowledge — to significantly understate their tax liabilities or falsely render them eligible for tax credits. The complaint alleges they did so by fabricating charitable contributions, unreimbursed employee expenses, residential energy credits, and head-of-household filing status, as well as by fabricating business income or expenses in order to overstate claims for earned income tax credits. According to the complaint, defendants’ consistent understatement of liabilities and overstatement of refunds has resulted in millions of dollars of lost tax revenue to the United States.
As an example, the complaint alleges that Mr. Williams claimed more than $1.3 million in false or inflated charitable contributions for 96 of his fellow firefighters in 2020 alone. These individuals, and many other of defendants’ customers, are now liable for repayment of income tax refunds wrongly claimed in their names, plus penalties and interest.
IRS announces arrests and indictments after two-week campaign to fight refund fraud and identity theft.
The IRS announced on March 20, 2019 the results of a national two-week enforcement and education campaign to combat refund crimes and identity theft that resulted in numerous legal actions against suspected criminals and businesses committing these crimes. As a result of IRS’ efforts, the Federal District Courts could expect to see more of these cases.
“Identity theft is a pervasive crime and stopping it remains a top priority of the IRS,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The IRS, with the help of our Security Summit partners, continues to make progress in this area, but we need to continue our significant efforts to protect taxpayers and assist those who have been a victim of identity theft. We are fighting this problem with enhanced systems, smarter technology and the efforts of our dedicated workforce, including Criminal Investigation. We will retain our relentless, vigorous pursuit of those who prey upon others in this arena”.
Unfortunately, a few bad apples take advantage of that trust for their own greed and profit,” said Don Fort, then Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation. “CI’s special agents are highly skilled at unraveling fraudulent schemes. With our partners in other agencies and the private sector, we are dismantling these crooked enterprises and enforcing our tax laws”.
What Should You Do?
Whether you are a victim of identity theft or the perpetrator of identity theft, it is important that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible to preserve your rights and/or mitigate your losses. The tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose and Walnut Creek) and elsewhere in California know exactly what to say and how to handle issues with the IRS as well as State Tax Agencies. Our experience and expertise not only levels the playing field but also puts you in the driver’s seat as we take full control of resolving your tax problems. Also, if you are involved in cannabis, check out what our cannabis tax attorney can do for you. Additionally, if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.Top of Form