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Monday, December 22, 2014

Tennessee Federal Court Bars Owners of Memphis-Area Tax Return Preparation Stores from Preparing Returns for Others

A federal court in Memphis, Tennessee, permanently barred three individuals from preparing tax returns for others and owning or operating a tax return preparation business, the Justice Department announced today.

The civil injunction order, to which the defendants Shandon Allen, Tabitha Tunstall, and Shewanda Hamilton agreed, was signed by U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

The United States brought the civil injunction suit in October 2014, alleging that the defendants and their employees prepare fraudulent tax returns that cause their customers to incorrectly report their federal tax liabilities and underpay their taxes.  According to the complaint, the defendants and their employees prepare federal tax returns on which they falsely claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, improper filing status, and bogus education credits.  Additionally, the defendants and their employees allegedly improperly prepare tax returns using paystubs rather than W-2 forms, fabricate bogus W-2 forms and file tax returns without some customers’ consent while charging deceptive and unconscionable fees, according to the suit.

The complaint alleged that the defendants were former managers of Mo’ Money Taxes, but began doing business as Southern King Taxes in 2012.  The United States previously obtained an injunction permanently barring the owners of Mo’ Money Taxes, Markey Granberry and Derrick Robinson, as well as a former Mo’ Money manager, Eumora Reese, from preparing tax returns for others and owning or operating a tax return preparation business.  The complaint alleged that Allen, Tunstall, and Hamilton continue to prepare tax returns in the same fraudulent manner as alleged in the complaint against the owners of Mo’ Money Taxes.    

Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2014.  The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax preparer.  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 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.

Press Release Number: 
Updated December 22, 2014