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A federal court in San Diego has permanently barred Melissa Lang (formerly known as Melissa Ann Vega) from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. In its complaint, the government alleged that Melissa Lang operated tax return preparation businesses called “L&T Works” and “Lang Works, LLC” and fraudulently reduced her customers’ tax liabilities by improperly claiming a variety of deductions and education tax credits. Specifically, the government’s complaint alleged that Lang, of San Diego, California, caused to be filed returns that claimed fraudulent refunds of more than $9,000,000, which included approximately $7,020,020 in false education credits. The complaint alleges that Lang filed, or caused to be filed though her associates and employees, approximately 4,194 false returns.
Lang agreed to the civil injunction order entered against her, which requires her to turn over to the United States a list of all principals, managers, employees, and independent contractors for Ms. Lang’s tax preparation businesses. Lang has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims, tax evasion, and aggravated identity theft.
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.