St. Louis woman Diane Shontae Williams allegedly hides her involvement in preparing returns with false claims.
ST. LOUIS, MO (STL.News) The United States filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Missouri seeking to bar a St. Louis-based tax preparer, Diane Shontae Williams, from assisting in preparing federal income tax returns for others.
The government’s complaint alleges that, since at least 2017, Diane Shontae Williams, both individually and through her business, Dreams & Memories Professional Planning Services, prepared tax returns for customers that falsely decrease the amount of tax that customers owe or falsely increased her customers’ refunds. According to the complaint, Williams concocted fictitious businesses; falsified expenses to reduce both real and fictional self?employment income; claimed bogus residential energy credits; fabricated household employee income to claim higher tax credits for customers; and invented false itemized deductions, including unreimbursed business expenses and charitable donations.
The complaint further alleges that Williams does not identify herself as a paid preparer on her customers’ returns, which adds to the government’s difficulty in identifying and detecting her illicit tax preparation activities. The IRS specifically cautions taxpayers to avoid “ghost” preparers, who will prepare a tax return but refuse to sign or include their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) as required by law.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
Taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant against unscrupulous tax preparers. The IRS offers tips on how to file returns accurately and how to choose a tax return preparer, as well as steps taxpayers can take to get a jumpstart on filing.
Taxpayers seeking assistance can access the IRS’s free directory of federal tax preparers. The IRS also has programs offering free essential return preparation for qualifying seniors and individuals with low to moderate income. In addition, IRS Free File, a public-private partnership, offers free online tax preparation and filing options on IRS partner websites for individuals whose adjusted gross income is under $73,000. For individuals whose income is over that threshold, IRS Free File offers electronic federal tax forms that can be filled out and filed online for free.
In the past decade, the Department of Justice 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 prohibited persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice