Federal Court Holds West Palm Beach Tax Preparer in Contempt
Court Finds that Tax Return Preparer Assisted in Preparing Returns in Violation of an October 2016 Injunction and Orders Him to Reimburse the United States for Its Investigation Expenses
On Friday, November 2, 2018, a federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, held that Renel Herard violated a permanent injunction entered against him on October 18, 2016, which barred him from preparing, filing, or assisting in the preparation or filing of federal tax returns for others.
In March 2017, following an investigation of Herard’s activities, the United States filed a Motion for Order to Show Cause asking the court to hold Herard in civil contempt based on evidence that he was assisting a business located three doors down from his own to prepare returns for his former customers in violation of the injunction against him. That investigation was undertaken by the Tax Division as part of its effort to monitor the conduct of return preparers who have been enjoined from preparing returns, and hold those who have continued to do so accountable for violating that ban.
Faced with the evidence against him, Herard admitted that he assisted others to prepare returns in 2017 and agreed to reimburse the United States for the cost of its investigation into his activities. Based on those admissions, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida found that Herard violated the injunction entered in October, 2016, and held him in civil contempt. For that contempt, the court ordered Herard to pay the United States $52,654 to reimburse the government for the costs that it incurred to investigate Herard’s post-injunction conduct.
Additionally, the court further enjoined Herard from maintaining any interest in, working at, or providing any direct or indirect assistance to an individual or entity that provides tax preparation services.
The injunction barring Herard from preparing tax returns remains in effect, and the court authorized the United States to continue to monitor his compliance with its orders.
In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers and tax scheme promoters. 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 here. If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.