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Federal Court Bars Minnesota Man from Preparing Tax Returns for Others

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Justice Department announced today that a federal court in Minneapolis has permanently barred John R. Bartels, who operates John’s Tax Service in St. Paul, from preparing federal income tax returns for others. The permanent injunction, to which Bartels consented, was entered by Judge Ann D. Montgomery of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

The government complaint in the case, filed last month, alleged that Bartels prepared federal income tax returns claiming false deductions and improper filing statuses, such as claiming head-of-household tax filing status for married customers. That filing status is available only to certain unmarried taxpayers who maintain a home for a dependent. More detailed information about head-of-household filing status is available at The complaint also alleged that Bartels encouraged his customers to lie to government investigators and provided fabricated documents for customers to use to substantiate deductions to which they were not entitled. In the complaint, the government stated that Bartels had prepared over 7,000 tax returns since January 1, 2002. Based on a sample of returns that Bartels prepared, the government estimated in the complaint that the amount of harm caused to the United States by Bartels’ fraudulent return preparation is likely over $9 million.

The court also ordered Bartels to give the Justice Department a list of his customers’ names, addresses, e-mail addresses and Social Security numbers. More information about the case is available at

The Justice Department has sought and obtained injunctions against more than 150 federal tax return preparers and promoters in the past several years. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website at More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division can be found at The IRS recently listed return-preparer fraud as one of the 2006 “Dirty Dozen” tax scams. The “Dirty Dozen” list can be found at,,id=154293,00.html.