Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Indianapolis Tax Preparer
An Indianapolis man reported false information on federal income tax returns he prepared for his customers, according to a new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice today. In the lawsuit’s complaint, the government alleges that Antonio Chappell prepared false tax returns at G & A Tax Service LLC (G & A Tax), a tax preparation firm owned by Chappell with locations in Indianapolis at 4857 Oakbrook Drive and 4721 North Franklin Road. The government’s complaint, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, Indiana, asks the court to entirely bar Chappell and G & A Tax from preparing federal tax returns for others.
According to the complaint, Chappell prepares fraudulent federal tax returns for his customers by falsely reporting income and expenses to inflate claims for the Earned Income Credit. The complaint also alleges that Chappell knowingly or recklessly misrepresents his customers’ filing statuses and reports non-qualifying dependents on customers’ tax returns in order to maximize the customers’ Earned Income Credit and qualify them for the Additional Child Tax Credit.
Further, Chappell and others at G & A Tax falsely submitted income tax returns under another tax preparer’s Preparer Tax Identification Number – including at least 184 returns filed after that tax preparer’s death, according to the complaint. The complaint also alleges that Chappell attempted to facilitate the sale of dependent information to at least one customer in order to claim false tax credits for the customer, provided a customer a fraudulent document to mislead an IRS examiner during an audit, and instructed at least one customer to falsely represent that the customer provided support to the dependents claimed on his return.
The IRS has a list of steps on their website that you can take now in anticipation of filing your 2017 federal income tax return and ten tips for choosing a tax preparer. 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 information on their website about selecting 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.