WASHINGTON – A federal court has permanently barred Houston-area tax preparers Christopher Helton and Marcia Johnson from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction order against Johnson was signed by Judge David Hittner of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Helton previously consented to a similar injunction.
According to the government complaint, Helton and Johnson, doing business as M.C. Tax Service, M.C. Tax Interprise and M.J. Tax Service, repeatedly claimed false tax credits and deductions on their customers’ federal tax returns. The most common alleged misconduct was blatantly fraudulent claims for a credit for gasoline or other fuel that the customers purportedly bought and used in their businesses. Under federal tax law, the fuel tax credit is limited to off-highway use of fuels, such as in the agricultural industry. But Helton and Johnson allegedly claimed the credit for customers – in one instance, a day care provider – whose occupations clearly did not involve off-highway fuel use. According to the complaint, Helton and Johnson also repeatedly made false claims for the earned income tax credit.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2011. In the past ten years, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of tax-return preparers and tax-fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website .