WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Justice Department announced today that it has filed suit seeking to bar a California accountant from preparing federal income tax returns claiming a so-called mariner’s tax deduction, which the government claims is legally frivolous. The civil suit, filed in Los Angeles in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that Martin A. Kapp of El Segundo, California prepares returns for mariners who work on barges and tugboats. The returns allegedly understated the mariners’ correct tax liabilities by deducting purported business expenses that they had not incurred.
The complaint alleges that Kapp prepared returns for the mariners claiming deductions for the costs of meals they received for free from their employers. According to the complaint, Kapp has taught college-level tax and accounting classes and specializes in preparing income tax returns for workers in the transportation industry, including mariners, airplane pilots and railroad engineers.
The lawsuit also asks the court to order Kapp to give the Justice Department a list of names, addresses, e-mail addresses and Social Security numbers of customers for whom he claimed a mariner’s deduction.
The IRS recently listed return-preparer fraud as part of its 2006 list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams, which is posted at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=154293,00.html. Since 2001, the Justice Department has sought and obtained injunctions against more than 160 tax-return preparers and tax-fraud promoters. More information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2006.htm. http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/txdv05054.htm. More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.