Court Shuts Down South Florida Tax Return Preparer
Today, a federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida permanently barred Renel Herard, individually and doing business as Herard Tax Services and Herard Security & Training Inc., from preparing federal tax returns for others. In addition to enjoining Herard from preparing, filing or assisting in the preparation or filing of federal tax returns, amended returns, or any other related documents, the court ordered Herard to publish, at his own expense, notice of the injunction for 14 consecutive days in The Palm Beach Post and Radio Vision Nouvelle (WPOM 1600 AM) and to prominently post a copy of the final injunction in the front window of the defendants’ offices until April 30, 2017. The court also ordered Herard to turn over to the United States a list of all customers for whom Herard or his businesses prepared returns after Jan. 1, 2015, and to provide a copy of the injunction order to anyone with whom Herard worked to prepare or file tax returns for others.
On Feb. 26, the government filed suit against Herard and alleged that returns prepared by Herard and his businesses have unlawfully understated customers’ income tax liabilities by creating or inflating deductions or fabricating business losses for non-existent businesses and have overstated refunds by falsely claiming tax credits, including education credits, fuel tax credits and medical and child care expenses for ineligible taxpayers who did not incur qualified expenses. The government alleged that, beginning with returns he prepared for the 2014 tax year, Herard prepared returns that falsely claimed the Premium Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit designed to help eligible individuals and families with low or moderate income afford health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace aka the Exchange, by claiming it for customers who did not purchase health insurance through the Exchange.
Return preparer fraud is one of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) 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.