Justice Department Sues to Shut Down Texas Return Preparers
The United States filed a civil injunction suit to permanently bar Jason Elias Briley; Roxann Ladawn Johnson fka Roxann Ladawn Ellis; Alexander McKenzie; Courtney Jones; Derek Brooks; Deanna McKenzie; Erbia Lewis; Patrick McKenzie and JRC Elite Tax Solutions LLC dba Elite Tax Solutions from preparing federal income tax returns for others. The complaint also requests that the court require the defendants to disgorge the fees they obtained by preparing false and fraudulent tax returns.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleges that these tax return preparers prepared more than 1,300 returns in 2021 and over 3,100 returns in 2022. According to the complaint, Briley and the others prepared returns that falsely claimed over $53 million in credits and refunds intended to provide COVID-19 related relief for self-employed individuals.
Deputy 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 checklist of things to remember when filing income tax returns in 2022.
In addition, IRS Free File, a public-private partnership, offers free online tax preparation and filing options on IRS partner websites for individuals whose adjusted gross income is under $73,000. For individuals whose income is over that threshold, IRS Free File offers electronical federal tax forms that can be filled out and filed online for free. The IRS has tips on how seniors and individuals with low to moderate income can get other help or guidance on tax return preparation, too.
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.