Skip to main content
Press Release

Federal Court Shuts Down South Florida-Area Tax Return Preparer

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Preparer Allegedly Claimed False Earned Income Tax and Education Credits for His Customers

A federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has permanently barred Billy Philippe from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.  In its complaint, the government alleged that Billy Philippe of Broward County, Florida prepared fraudulent tax returns for his customers. The court found that, for purposes of entering an injunction only, Philippe engaged in tax return preparer conduct subject to penalty under the tax laws. Philippe agreed to the civil injunction order entered against him, which requires him to turn over to the United States a list of all persons for whom he prepared federal tax returns since 2012.  The court also authorized the United States to monitor Philippe’s compliance with the terms of the injunction.

The government’s complaint against Philippe, the majority owner of Advantage Tax Center Plus Inc., alleged that he prepared income tax returns for customers that fraudulently overstated the amount of the refunds due by falsely claiming refundable credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and credits for education expenses.  The complaint further alleged that Philippe frequently claimed fraudulently inflated wages or self-employment income in order to maximize the amount of EITC, a customer claimed.

According to the complaint, Philippe prepared at least 899 returns from 2011 and 2015.  The complaint alleged that audits of 44 returns prepared in 2014 and 2015 revealed that Philippe claimed credits his customers were not entitled to take and/or understated their correct tax liability by more than $300,000 in the aggregate.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding taxpayers that the 2017 individual income tax return filing season began on Jan. 23, and there is information available on the IRS’s website. Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2017 and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant.  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.

Updated March 17, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-205