We handle criminal tax cases for both taxpayers and practitioners, and inevitably it starts with the filing of a false tax return by either a taxpayer, often with help from an unscrupulous tax preparer. A federal court in Columbia, South Carolina, has permanently barred a Liberty Tax Service franchise owner from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction order prohits Christopher Paul Haynes from acting as a federal tax return preparer and from supervising, managing or employing federal tax return preparers. In addition, Haynes must provide the government with a list of all customers for whom Haynes or his business prepared a tax return for any tax year from 2010 to present. Haynes agreed to the civil injunction order entered against him.
On Feb. 8, the government filed suit against Haynes and alleged that he and his employees prepared false federal income tax returns in order to increase customers’ refunds at Haynes’s three Columbia-area Liberty Tax Service franchises. According to the government’s complaint, Haynes and his employees prepared tax returns that included false or inflated income and expenses on Schedule C (Profit or Loss From Business), bogus dependents, false filing statuses and improper unreimbursed employee business expenses.
Return preparer fraud is one of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2016. The IRS has some tips on their website for choosing a tax 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.