St. Augustine Contractor Pleads Guilty To Failing To Pay IRS Payroll Taxes That He Withheld From Employees’ Pay
Jacksonville, Florida – Joanna Arlean Tukes has pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting others with the filing of fraudulent tax returns. She faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. Tukes has also agreed to pay $366,000 in restitution to the IRS for the tax loss caused by the offenses. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, since 2012, Tukes owned and operated a tax return preparation business in Jacksonville. In preparing income tax returns for others, Tukes reported false information, including false claims for deductible expenses and losses, to reduce the amount owed by, or to increase the amount refunded to, the taxpayers. She then electronically filed the tax returns with the IRS causing the IRS either to issue refunds when taxes would have been owed in the absence of the fraud, or to issue larger refunds than would have been due in the absence of the fraud.
For example, Tukes prepared and filed a 2015 tax return in which she represented that the taxpayer had a business with no income and $99,651 in expenses. She also represented that the taxpayer had incurred medical and dental expenses of $29,600 and unreimbursed employee expenses of $15,600. Tukes subtracted the business “loss” of $99,651 from the taxpayer’s gross income and deducted a portion of the claimed expenses from the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. When Tukes made these representations, she knew that the taxpayer was a wage-earning employee of a corporation and did not operate a business in 2015, and that the taxpayer had not incurred the claimed expenses. After Tukes filed the tax return, the IRS issued a refund to the taxpayer in the amount of $28,836. In the absence of the false statements, the taxpayer would have owed additional tax in the amount of $12,459. In this instance, the tax loss to the IRS was $41,295.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.