Many taxpayers depend to a great degree on their tax preparers. There are many reasons for this, of course. People are busy. The tax code is complex. Often, it just makes sense to have a tax professional take care of preparing and filing the return.
To be sure, this requires a lot of trust. But for the great majority of taxpayers who choose this option, it's worth it. In California and across the country, it is therefore a very common occurrence.
Sometimes, however, a tax preparer misuses that trust. In a current case in Detroit, federal authorities have charged a tax preparer with numerous counts of filing false returns on behalf of other taxpayers.
The tax preparer was arrested in January on some of these charges. Then, last month, a superseding indictment specified a total of 16 counts involving the submission of false tax returns. Authorities have also charged him with one count of obstructing the administration of the tax laws.
The indictment asserts that between 2004 and 2012, the man prepared tax returns for others that claimed false refunds and false deductions. He is also accused of filing false returns on his own behalf for several of those years.
An indictment is essentially another way of saying someone faces a criminal charge. The allegations are certainly not proven, and the burden of proof rests with the government.
But there is no doubt that the allegations are serious. If convicted, the man would be looking at up to three years in prison on each count. He would also face substantial fines.
Source: ""Detroit Tax Preparer Arrested for Preparing Fraudulent Taxes from 2004 - 2012," Loan Safe, Evan Bedard, 2-28-12
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