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Press Release

Justice Department Sues to Shut Down
Missouri Tax Return Preparers

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Midtown Tax Return Preparers Allegedly Prepare Fraudulent Tax Returns

The United States has asked a federal court in St. Louis, Mo., to permanently bar Joseph Burns, d/b/a Electronic Tax Service, Joseph Thomas and International Tax Service Inc. (Thomas’s business), from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit alleges that Burns and Thomas, who previously worked together, prepare fraudulent tax returns for customers from the same office building in the midtown neighborhood of St. Louis.

According to the complaint, the defendants repeatedly fabricate deductions on customers’ returns and report false filing statutses in order to illegally lower their customers’ federal tax liabilities and to generate larger tax refunds. The government alleges that the defendants also prepare returns containing bogus Schedule C income which illegally allows some customers to claim the maximum earned income tax credit. Based on past audit results, the government alleges that the loss to the U.S. Treasury caused by these defendants’ ongoing return preparation activities could be as much as $6 million annually .


In the past decade the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of tax-return preparers and tax-fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.

Related Materials:

Burns/Thomas Complaint

Updated October 8, 2014

Press Release Number: 13-529