Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down New Orleans-Area Tax Return Preparer
Return Preparer Allegedly Claimed False Business Deductions and Fuel Tax Credits for Her Customers
A New Orleans-area woman prepares fraudulent tax returns for her customers, and the government seeks a court order barring her from preparing tax returns for others, according to a new civil suit filed by the United States, the Justice Department announced.
According to the government’s civil complaint, filed in federal court in New Orleans, Louisiana, Tiga Bryant fraudulently reduced her customers’ tax liabilities by improperly claiming bogus deductions and false fuel tax credits. In particular, the complaint alleges that Bryant, who does business as “Denson’s Fast Tax Services,” claims false employee business expense deductions that improperly reduce her customers’ taxable income. In one example, the complaint alleges that Bryant falsely claimed that one of her customers incurred employee business expenses totaling more than the wages this customer earned.
In addition to claiming fraudulent deductions for her customers, Bryant also claims bogus fuel tax credits, according to the complaint. Fraud involving the fuel tax credit was one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2016. The fuel tax credit is generally limited to off-highway business use, and consequently, not available to most taxpayers. The complaint alleges several examples in which Bryant improperly claimed a fuel tax credit for her customers who, the United States alleges, were clearly not entitled to the fuel tax credit because they did not purchase fuel for off-highway business use. In one example, Bryant reported that a customer used 2,500 gallons of fuel for off-highway business use and yet the customer did not even own a vehicle, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that the IRS audited 197 returns prepared by Bryant and determined that Bryant claimed credits and/or deductions her customers were not entitled to take on 96 percent (189) of these returns and understated their tax liabilities by more than $800,000.
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.