Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Florida Return Preparer
A federal court in the Southern District of Florida has permanently enjoined a West Palm Beach tax return preparer from preparing federal income tax returns for others and from owning, operating, managing, assisting or working at any tax return preparation business in the future.
According to the court’s order, defendant Nate E. Dameus stipulated to entry of the injunction. The terms of the order require Dameus to send notice of the injunction to each person for whom he prepared federal tax returns, other tax forms, or claims for refund after Jan. 1, 2018, and to advertise the injunction on social media for one year. The order permits the United States to conduct full post-judgment discovery to monitor compliance.
The complaint filed by the United States alleged that Dameus employed fraudulent practices in preparing customer returns that understated the tax his customers owed and/or overstated the refund to which they were entitled. For example, the complaint alleged that he prepared returns with fabricated tax withholding and that he included claims for bogus unreimbursed employee business expenses like car mileage, tools, cell phone services and meals. In addition, the complaint alleged that Dameus routinely falsified home improvement expenses on his customers’ returns to claim residential energy credits his customers were not entitled to receive. According to the complaint, Dameus’s fraudulent activities resulted in substantial losses to the Treasury.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. (More information can also be found here.) The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax preparer, has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers and offers information on how to avoid “ghost” tax preparers, whose refusal to sign a return should be a red flag to taxpayers. The IRS also has a list of important reminders for taxpayers who are about to file their 2020 tax returns, including how to prepare for a smooth filing process.
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 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