Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Mississippi Tax Return Preparer
Owner of Columbus, Miss., Business Allegedly Claims Fraudulent Deductions and Credits on Customers’ Returns
The United States has asked a federal court to bar Cynthia H. Carter from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit alleges that Carter, who does business as Cynthia’s Tax Service in Columbus, Miss., prepares returns for customers that report false income and expense amounts and falsely claim several tax credits, including the first-time-homebuyer credit.
Congress enacted the first-time-homebuyer credit in 2008 to strengthen the real estate market and help the economy. Persons who had not owned a home in the previous three years could claim a credit of up to $8,000 against their federal income taxes if they bought a home after April 8, 2008. Congress later expanded the program to allow current homeowners to claim the credit for a purchase of a new home, under certain conditions. The credit has since expired.
The government complaint alleges that Carter claimed the first-time-homebuyer credit on her customers’ returns even though the customers had not bought new homes in those tax years and were ineligible for the credit. The complaint also alleges that Carter claimed fabricated deductions for employee business expenses and inflated earned income tax credits on her customers’ returns. According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that Carter’s tax return preparation could have resulted in over $4.25 million in lost revenue to the United States.
The IRS lists return preparer fraud and claiming false income and expenses as two of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2012. The Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous return preparers and tax-fraud promoters in the past decade. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website .