Federal Court Permanently Bars Detroit Area Former Liberty Tax Service Franchisee From Preparing Tax Returns
A federal court in Detroit, Michigan has permanently barred a former Liberty Tax Service franchise owner and his operating company from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction order prohibits Craig M. Comer and Comer Inc. from acting as federal tax return preparers and operating a tax return preparation business. Comer and Comer Inc. agreed to the civil injunction order entered against them.
On Jan. 28, the government filed suit against Comer and Comer Inc. and alleged that their five Detroit area Liberty Tax Service stores prepared federal income tax returns that improperly inflated claims for tax refunds and refundable credits for customers during 2013, 2014 and 2015. According to the government’s complaint, the defendants also altered completed, customer-signed tax returns to increase the fees they charged customers and then forged the customers’ signatures on the returns when re-signing and filing them with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As of March, Comer and Comer Inc. claimed to no longer own or operate any Liberty Tax Service stores. Today’s court order, among other prohibitions, bars the defendants from operating a tax return preparation business and includes disbarment from practice before the IRS in any capacity.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s 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.