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Court Prohibits South Carolina Tax Return Preparer from Preparing Returns for Others

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2014

Contact Person: George Conits (864) 282-2100

Tax Preparer Filed Returns for Others that Overstated Tax Refunds by Claiming Fabricated IRA Deductions and Bogus Education Credits

Columbia, South Carolina -----United States District Court Judge Mary Geiger Lewis, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, permanently barred Sandra Burton from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles announced today. 

According to the complaint, from 2006 through 2008, Burton operated her own tax preparation business, Burton Tax Service, and then worked as a tax preparer at J. Moss Financial Services through 2012.  While operating Burton Tax Service in 2007 and 2008, Burton allegedly prepared returns for others that improperly claimed fabricated IRA deductions and bogus education credits to reduce her customers’ tax liabilities and/or increase the size of their refunds.  The complaint further alleges that Burton closed her tax preparation business after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) executed a search warrant on her business in 2008. 

According to the complaint, even after closing Burton Tax Service, Burton continued to prepare returns for others.  As alleged, Burton prepared over 1500 returns in 2011 and 2012 as a tax preparer at J. Moss Financial Services.  The complaint further alleges that Burton continued to claim unsubstantiated education credits on returns she prepared while employed at J. Moss Financial Services. 

In December 2012, Burton pleaded guilty to ten counts of willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of materially false income tax returns for returns she prepared while operating Burton Tax Service.  Burton was sentenced to serve 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $355,529 in restitution to the IRS.

Burton consented to entry of the injunction.

Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS' Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2014.  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.

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