The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently charged a tax preparation professional with 18 counts of aiding in the preparation of false tax returns. These charges were based on allegations the man filed fraudulent tax returns over a span of four tax years, from 2014 through 2017.
What did the tax preparation professional do wrong? The agencies state the man used various methods to illegally increase his client’s tax returns for his own gain. These methods allegedly include claiming false mileage expenses and inflated charitable donations.
How serious are the allegations? In short, very serious. Charges of this nature can come with serious criminal penalties. If convicted, the man faces up to three years imprisonment for each individual charge. This could translate to a prison sentence of over five decades.
Why should other tax preparation professionals take note of this case? This case is the most recent example of the agency’s continued efforts to crack down on tax professionals.
The preparation of false tax returns is just one violation tax return preparers can face. Additional allegations can include illegal promotion of abusive tax shelters, intentionally understating tax liabilities and unauthorized disclosure or use of information connected to the preparation of a tax return. Each violation can come with a fine and potential imprisonment.
Those who are charged with a violation are wise to take proactive action to protect their professional and personal reputation. A tax preparation professional facing these allegations is wise to seek legal counsel experienced in representation during these matters.