Federal Court Prohibits Florida Tax Preparer from Preparing Tax Returns for Others
A federal court has barred a Doral, Florida, man and his businesses from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.
The civil injunction order, to which Eleuterio Almanzar consented, was entered by U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez of the Southern District of Florida. The government’s complaint alleged that Almanzar prepared federal income tax returns for customers that understate the tax that is due or seek refunds larger than are appropriate. The injunction also bars Almanzar’s businesses, Almanzar Tax Accounting & Consulting Corp. and Almanzar Financial Services Corp., from continuing to prepare tax returns.
According to the complaint, the tax understatements were the result of improper education credits, first time homebuyer tax credits, earned income tax credits, charitable deductions and business expense deductions that Almanzar claimed for his customers without performing the required due diligence and despite the absence of any supporting documentation. Because some of these credits are refundable credits, the improper claims often resulted in refunds that were larger than appropriate, according to the suit. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) interviewed several of Almanzar’s customers, who stated that the improper deductions and credits were not based on information they provided to Almanzar, and that they did not know that the improper deductions and credits had been taken on their tax return until after their return was filed.
The injunction requires Almanzar to provide a list of customers that identifies by name, social security number, address, e-mail address, telephone number and tax periods all persons for whom he has prepared federal tax returns or claims for refund since Jan. 1, 2009.
For the returns Almanzar prepared since 2009, which the IRS examined, the average tax deficiency was $3,249 per return, according to the complaint. Given the number of returns Almanzar has prepared since 2009, he has potentially caused millions of dollars of harm to the U.S. Treasury.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2015. The IRS has some tips 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 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 on here. If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.