WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Justice Department announced today that it has filed suit in federal court in Minneapolis, Minnesota seeking to enjoin John R. Bartels, who does business as John’s Tax Service, in St. Paul, from preparing federal income tax returns. The civil suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, alleges that Bartels prepares federal income tax returns improperly claiming head-of-household status for married customers. The returns allegedly caused an estimated loss to the U.S. Treasury of over $9 million.
The government complaint alleges that Bartels prepared federal income tax returns claiming false items. The complaint also notes that the Minnesota Department of Revenue previously penalized him for filing false state income tax returns. The complaint also alleges that Bartels encouraged his customers to lie to government investigators and provided documents for his customers to substantiate deductions to which they were not entitled.
“By preparing returns that illegally inflate refunds, dishonest return preparers lure customers away from honest ones,” said Eileen J. O’Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “The IRS and the Justice Department are working to put a stop to that.”
The lawsuit also asks the court to order Bartels to give the Justice Department a list of his customers’ names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and Social Security numbers. The Justice Department has sought and obtained injunctions against more than 130 federal tax return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2006.htm. More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax. The IRS recently listed return-preparer fraud as one of the 2006 “Dirty Dozen” tax scams. The “Dirty Dozen” list can be found at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=154293,00.html.