Federal Court Shuts Down Florida Tax Return Preparer
Today, a federal court in Miami permanently barred Jessyca Bernard from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction order, to which Bernard agreed, was signed by Chief Judge K. Michael Moore of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The complaint alleges that Bernard, of Lauderhill, Florida, owned and operated Proper Taxes, Inc. in Miami Gardens, Florida. According to the complaint, Bernard fabricated losses for her customers’ side businesses in order to secure refunds to which her customers were not entitled. In one example cited in the complaint, Bernard prepared a customer’s tax returns that reported losses of more than $27,000 and $22,000 based upon fictitious expenditures for supplies, utilities, and medical expenses. Bernard also prepared a customer’s return that fabricated more than $11,000 in losses, including $8,000 in supplies for the customer’s side business of washing cars on weekends, according to the complaint.
Return preparer fraud was one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2018 and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has some tips on its website for choosing a return 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.