Court Shuts Down Charleston, South Carolina Tax Return Preparer
A federal court in Charleston, South Carolina permanently enjoined Jacqueline Lowndes from preparing federal tax returns for others. The court also ordered Lowndes to mail a copy of the injunction order to all customers for whom she prepared a return for tax years 2012 through 2016. Lowndes agreed to the civil injunction order entered against her.
According to the complaint, Lowndes prepared federal income tax returns for customers that reported false, improper or inflated deductions which understated the customers’ income tax liabilities and increased their refunds. Lowndes also allegedly falsely claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit on behalf of customers who did not qualify for the credit by exaggerating the customers’ losses and expenses, falsely claiming dependents for customers, and falsely changing the filing status of customers. Returns prepared by Lowndes underreported tax liabilities or overstated tax refunds by over $600,000, according to the complaint.
Return preparer fraud was one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2018 and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a return 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.