WASHINGTON – The United States has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Lakeisha Pearson from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The government’s civil injunction complaint alleges that Pearson of Birmingham, Ala., operated under the trade names “LGS Tax Service,” “PositiveEndeavors LLC” and “AGA Tax Service,” and improperly claimed the earned income tax credit (EITC) on her customers’ tax returns to generate false or overstated tax refunds. Pearson also allegedly failed to comply with legal requirements for determining her customers’ eligibility for the EITC and the amount of their EITC claims.
The EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low-to-moderate-income working individuals and families. When the credit exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. To qualify for the credit, taxpayers must have earned income from employment, self-employment or another source and meet certain other requirements.
According to the complaint, Pearson prepared almost 2,000 tax returns for tax years 2008 through 2011, more than 92 percent of which claimed the EITC. Pearson allegedly prepared returns fraudulently reporting income or improperly claiming individuals as a “qualifying child” in order to inflate or generate false EITC claims for her customers. According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that the harm to the government from Pearson’s misconduct could be as high as $8.3 million.
The IRS has listed return preparer fraud as one of its “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2011. In the past 10 years, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax return preparers and tax fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website .