Justice Department Sues To Stop California Tax Return Preparers
Fresno, Calif., Return Preparers Allegedly Overstated Refunds Through Fabricated And Inflated Deductions And Credits
WASHINGTON – The United States filed a civil complaint asking a federal court in Fresno, Calif., to enjoin Ken Mendoza and Alice Mendoza from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The complaint alleges that the Mendozas frequently prepare tax returns for individuals claiming refunds from the federal government that are not deserved. According to the complaint, since 2010, the Mendozas have prepared over 600 tax returns for individuals in the Fresno area.
According to the complaint, the Mendozas improperly understate their customers' federal tax liabilities by fabricating business expenses, claiming false or inflated credits, particularly educational credits, and deducting customers' personal expenses that are not legally deductible. In total, the complaint alleges that the loss to the U.S. Treasury from the Mendozas' activities could be as much as $2.8 million for tax years 2010 through 2011.
In addition, the complaint seeks to enjoin anyone acting in concert with the Mendozas from preparing or filing federal tax returns; to prohibit the Mendozas from requesting or directing the preparation of federal tax returns for others; to require the Mendozas, within 30 days of entry of an injunction issued in this case, to contact all persons for whom they prepared a federal tax return since Jan. 1, 2008, and to inform all such persons of the permanent injunction entered against them; to require the Mendozas to provide a list of all such persons to the United States; to allow the United States to monitor the Mendozas's compliance with any such injunction; and to request that the court retain jurisdiction over this case to enforce any injunction entered against the Mendozas.
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.