WASHINGTON - A federal district court in Florida has permanently barred Jacksonville resident Shirley Clark from preparing tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. Judge Marcia Morales Howard of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida entered the permanent injunction against Clark and her firm, Nichet Corp. Clark consented to the injunction, which requires her to turn over her customer list to the Justice Department.
The government in the case alleged that Clark prepared at least 1,250 federal tax returns for her customers from 2004 until 2007 and claimed nearly $750,000 in fraudulent fuel tax credits on those returns. The complaint also alleged that Clark prepared returns that fabricated income and expenses for customers in order to fraudulently maximize the earned income tax credit.
The fuel tax credit is available only to taxpayers who use fuel to operate farm equipment or for other off-highway business uses. The complaint alleged that Clark fraudulently claimed this credit for truck drivers who were not qualified to receive the credit. The complaint also asserted that Clark claimed absurdly large credits by falsely reporting purchases of huge quantities of gasoline; in most cases, the cost of the gasoline was more than the customers’ annual income.
Fuel credit scams are on this year’s IRS list of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. In the past few years the Justice Department has obtained injunctions shutting down many tax preparers who claim the phony credits on customers’ returns.
In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained more than 465 injunctions against tax fraud promoters and tax return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s Web site.