Federal Court Prohibits Western Louisiana Tax Preparer from Preparing Tax Returns for Others
A federal court has barred a New Iberia, Louisiana, woman and her business from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.
The civil injunction order, to which Joyce Bougere-Keyes consented, was entered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna of the Western District of Louisiana. The government’s complaint alleged that Bougere-Keyes, and her business, Joyce Tax & Financial Service LLC, prepared federal income tax returns for customers that reported fabricated and/or inflated business income and expenses on Schedules C (Profit or Loss from Business) to fraudulently maximize the amount of the earned income tax credit for her customers. As described in the complaint, many of the defendant’s customers reported that they were unaware their returns contained business income or expenses, or confirmed that the returns otherwise misrepresented these items. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audited 71 federal income tax returns filed by the defendant’s customers for tax year 2010, which resulted in the disallowance of $210,571 in improperly claimed earned income tax credits on those returns alone, according to the suit.
The complaint further alleged that Bougere-Keyes improperly claimed education credits for taxpayers who were not entitled to them.
Bougere-Keyes has prepared more than 7,500 individual income tax returns since 2009, according to the suit. Based on the number of years the defendant has been preparing tax returns and the types of fraudulent conduct alleged, the loss to the U.S. Treasury caused by the defendant’s conduct is likely more than $1 million, according to the complaint.
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.