The United States has asked a federal court in McAllen, Texas, to permanently bar Melissa Alvarez and her companies, Best & Unique Income Services, Best & Unique Income Tax Melissa and Best & Unique Income Tax Services LLC, from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.
According to the complaint, Alvarez, who lives and does business in McAllen, has been preparing tax returns for customers that contain false, improper or inflated deductions or tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit. Most of Alvarez’s customers allegedly reside in southern Texas.
In one example described in the complaint, Alvarez allegedly claimed business-expense deductions on tax returns for a customer who did not operate a business and without that customer’s knowledge.
The complaint further alleges that the IRS examined returns that Alvarez prepared from the 2004 through 2012 tax-filing seasons, and 97 percent of those returns were found to have understated the tax liabilities of Alvarez’s customers. According to the complaint, the IRS estimates that the total tax harm from Alvarez’s unlawful tax-preparation activities during that period could exceed $10 million.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2013. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax preparer. In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website. An alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes can be found on this page If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.