Federal Court Shuts Down Palm Beach County, Florida Tax Return Preparers
A federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, has issued an order permanently barring Jeffrey Cadet, Kersh Tax Service, LLC, and Kersha Lewis from preparing federal tax returns for others, or owning or operating a tax preparation business, the Justice Department announced today.
The court also ordered the defendants to mail copies of the court order and complaint to all persons or entities for whom they prepared federal tax returns after Jan. 1, 2014.
The complaint filed by the government alleged that defendants prepared tax returns containing fictitious itemized deductions and/or fictitious business expenses. The complaint also alleges that the defendants filed returns containing fictitious and/or inflated education expenses to improperly claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and Lifetime Learning Credit on behalf of customers. According to the complaint, the defendants circumvented due diligence requirements for claiming the AOTC and the Earned Income Tax Credit, charged deceptive and/or unconscionable fees to customers, failed to provide customers with complete copies of their tax returns, and failed to sign or identify themselves as the preparer on many returns they prepared.
The injunction against Cadet, Kersh Tax Service, and Kersha Lewis was entered by default because those defendants failed to defend against the government’s allegations. Saglenda Johnson, who was also named as a party to the lawsuit, consented to a similar injunction entered earlier in the case.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has information 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.