WASHINGTON – The United States has asked a federal court to stop Cecil Collier, who operates under the trade name "Cairo Fast Tax," from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The government’s civil injunction complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Albany, Ga., alleges that Collier prepares tax returns for customers that falsely claim the earned income tax credit (EITC).
The government alleges that Collier claimed the credit, or a far larger credit than was warranted, on his customers’ returns even though he knew or should have known that the customers were not entitled to the credit claimed. Collier allegedly did so by falsely claiming dependents or qualifying children and by overstating earned income. Collier also allegedly has not filed his own federal income tax returns since 2004, and in March 2010 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assessed over $37,000 in penalties against him.
According to the complaint, of the more than 3,500 tax returns prepared by Collier during the 2006 through 2009 tax years, at least 87 percent claimed an EITC. The complaint further states that, of the returns prepared by Collier that the IRS audited for issues concerning the EITC, 98 percent of them required adjustments. The government estimates that Collier’s tax return preparation may have resulted in more than $12 million in lost taxes.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s recent efforts to stop fraudulent claims for tax credits is available here . In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained hundreds of injunctions to stop tax fraud promoters and tax return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.