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A federal court in the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division, has permanently enjoined four Palm Beach-area tax return preparers from preparing federal income tax returns for others and from owning or operating any tax return business in the future.
In issuing an injunction against Marcus Alty; Jeanait Mathurin; Prestige Tax Services Inc. (dba Just Tax Services LLC); and Excellent Tax Services “LLC” (dba Excellent Tax Services), the court found that the defendants prepared tax returns making false or fraudulent claims for the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, often based on fabricated business income and expenses. The order further holds that the defendants prepared returns that falsely claimed fuel tax credits and that reported false education expenses. The civil complaint filed against the defendants alleged that their fraudulent activities resulted in a loss to the Treasury of over $5 million.
The injunctions against defendants were entered by default: according to the order against them, Alty, Mathurin, and Prestige Tax Services failed to appear in the action, while Excellent Tax Services filed an answer but otherwise failed to participate in the litigation. The court also ordered a 90-day discovery period to allow the United States to determine the appropriate disgorgement amount for the ill-gotten gains that defendants received for the preparation of tax returns containing falsely reported items.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. (More information can also be found here.) The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax preparer, has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers, and offers information on how to avoid “ghost” tax preparers, whose refusal to sign a return should be a red flag to taxpayers. The IRS also has a list of important reminders for taxpayers who are about to file their 2020 tax returns, including how to prepare for a smooth filing process.
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 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.