Court Shuts Down Alabama Tax Return Preparer
Preparer Who Allegedly Fabricated Business Losses, Claimed Fraudulent Credits and Misreported Self-Employment Income for Customers Ordered to Stop Preparing Returns
According to a lawsuit the United States filed in April, a Birmingham, Alabama, tax return preparer continually and repeatedly prepared federal income tax returns that understated her clients’ liabilities or overstated their refunds. Now a federal court in Birmingham has permanently barred her from preparing tax returns for others and it has ordered her to give the United States a list of her customers since 2014.
Jessica Leverett aka Jessica Harris, owns and operates a number of different tax return preparation businesses in and around Birmingham, including Tax Money Now, Dynamic Tax Services, Dynamic Tax Solutions and Express Money Tax, the civil complaint alleged. Leverett’s businesses prepared returns that fabricate Schedule C businesses and business losses to offset their customers’ taxable income from other sources or to increase the customers’ Earned Income Tax Credit, according to the complaint. The complaint also alleged that Leverett’s businesses prepare returns that claim education credits that Leverett’s customers are not entitled to receive and that misreport self-employment income as household employee wages in order to avoid the self-employment tax.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) examined 264 returns prepared by Leverett’s businesses and found that 206 understated the customer’s tax due, the complaint alleges. Altogether, Leverett’s activities may have caused the United States to lose over $2.5 million in understated taxes and/or fraudulent refunds, according to the complaint. Leverett did not file a response challenging the government’s allegations.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2016. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax preparer, and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers. 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’s 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.