Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Georgia Tax Return Preparer
(STL.News) The United States filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia seeking to bar a Tifton, Georgia, tax return preparer from preparing tax returns for others.
The civil suit against Alicia Coarsey, aka Meredith Coarsey, and Tax Xpress of Tifton LLC, alleges that Coarsey owns Tax Xpress and prepares federal individual income tax returns claiming fabricated medical expenses and charitable contributions. In addition, according to the complaint, Coarsey fabricates claimed business losses, in some cases for non-existent businesses, in order to claim improper earned income tax credits. As one example, the complaint alleges that she claimed over $19,000 in medical deductions for tax year 2019 for one customer, who has since stated that he did not have significant medical expenses in that year. The complaint further alleges that returns prepared by Coarsey use these bogus claims to falsely understate her customers’ tax liabilities and inflate their refund claims. According to the complaint, the United States has likely lost millions of dollars in tax revenue as a result of her activities.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ 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, has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers, and offers information on how to avoid “ghost” tax preparers, whose refusal to sign a return should be a red flag to taxpayers. The IRS also has a list of important reminders for taxpayers who are about to file their 2020 tax returns, including how to prepare for a smooth filing process.
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 $72,000. For individuals whose income is over that threshold, IRS Free File offers electronical federal tax forms that can be filled out and filed online for free.
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 this page.