(STL.News) – The United States has filed a complaint seeking to bar a Chicago area tax return preparer from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced yesterday.
The civil complaint against Andreana Smith was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and alleges that Smith prepared federal income tax returns for over 100 Chicago-area taxpayers that significantly understated her customers’ tax liabilities. The suit alleges that Smith made up or exaggerated her customers’ business expenses, and fabricated residential energy credits and education credits.
According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service interviewed several of Smith’s customers, who allegedly stated that they did not incur the business expenses reported on their returns prepared by Smith on their behalf, and did not give Smith any reason to believe that such deductions were legitimate. The complaint alleges that, by repeatedly understating her customers’ tax liabilities, Smith has caused the United States to lose substantial tax revenue.
“The Tax Division will work with its IRS partners to shut down return preparers who claim improper or illegal deductions and credits for their customers” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman. He added, “Taxpayers should be vigilant so they do not file tax returns claiming false deductions.”
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers.