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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Justice Department Asks Federal Court to Shut Down Florida Tax Preparer

The United States filed a complaint seeking to bar a Doral, Florida, man and his businesses from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.

The civil injunction complaint against Eleuterio Almanzar, Almanzar Tax Accounting & Consulting Corp. and Almanzar Financial Services Corp., filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, alleges that Almanzar prepares federal income tax returns for customers that understate the tax that is due or seek refunds larger than are appropriate. 

According to the government’s complaint, the understatements are the result of improper education credits, first time homebuyer tax credits, earned income tax credits, charitable deductions and business expense deductions that Almanzar claims 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 result in larger than appropriate refunds, 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 complaint also seeks to enjoin Almanzar from using a false or fictitious federally issued identification number — including social security numbers, Electronic Filing Identification Numbers, Employer Identification Numbers, Taxpayer Identification Numbers and Preparer Tax Identification Numbers — to file or remit federal income tax returns.  The suit also seeks to prevent Almanzar from using any federally issued identification number that belongs to another person to file or remit federal income tax returns.  The government is also asking to have Almanzar 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.

According to the complaint, the average tax deficiency for the returns the IRS examined since 2009 was $3,249 per return.  Given the number of returns Almanzar has prepared since 2009, the harm to the United States caused by his practices could be in the millions of dollars.  

Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2015.  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 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 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.

Topic(s): 
Tax
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
15-300
Updated May 18, 2016