Federal Court Bars Florida Tax Return Preparer and His Business From Preparing Tax Returns
Court Also Requires that the Preparer and His Business Disgorge Over a Half-Million Dollars in Ill-Gotten Gains
On Feb. 14, 2020, a federal court in Ocala, Florida, entered a permanent injunction against Philip Mott Harris II and his business, 24/7 Tax Services LLC, barring them from preparing federal tax returns for others and owning or operating a tax preparation business, the Justice Department announced today. The court also ordered that Harris and 24/7 Tax Services LLC disgorge $544,874.56, representing the ill-gotten gains that they received for the preparation of tax returns. The order was signed by Judge James S. Moody of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
The government alleged that the defendants prepared tax returns on which the defendants fabricated businesses and related business income and expenses, claimed improper filing status, and reported false household help income. In the report and recommendation, adopted by Judge Moody, the court found that “over the course of several years, Harris and his other tax return preparers have continually filed returns misrepresenting their customers’ income, deductions, and income tax liability–and have continued to do so even after the United States filed its complaint in this action.” The court further concluded “that injunctive relief is appropriate, and that a more limited injunction will not suffice to prevent the substantial harm that Defendants would likely continue to cause if not permanently enjoined.”
“The Tax Division will use all available enforcement tools to shut down return preparers who claim improper or illegal deductions and credits for their customers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Zuckerman.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has information on its 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 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.