A federal court in the Southern District of Texas has permanently enjoined a Galveston-area tax return preparer from preparing federal tax returns for others and, among other things, from owning, operating or franchising any tax return preparation business in the future.
The amended complaint alleged that Johnathan Perry, individually and dba X-Pert Taxes and JOHNATHAN PERRY, prepared over 4,000 federal income tax returns during the 2017-2022 filing seasons. According to the amended complaint, in a substantial number of these tax returns, the defendants significantly overstated the customers’ tax refunds by claiming fictitious employee business expenses, fabricating household help income, fabricating or inflating business losses and/or claiming education credits or fuel excise tax credits to which customers were not entitled.
The terms of the injunction order require that Perry disgorge $324,432 to the United States in tax preparation fees. The order further requires that Perry send notice of the injunction to each person for whom Mr. Perry, X-Pert Taxes or JOHNATHAN PERRY prepared federal tax returns. The order also requires Mr. Perry to post the injunction in all locations where he conducts business and on all social media accounts and websites used to advertise the tax preparation services.
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 as return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. The IRS offers tips on how to accurately file returns and how to choose a tax return preparer, as well as steps taxpayers can take to get a jumpstart on filing. The IRS 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.
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 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 here.