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IRS Warns Miami Tax Preparers and Taxpayers

The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation unit is issuing a stern warning to New Miami tax preparers as it cracks down on preparers who falsify tax returns, while cautioning taxpayers to choose preparers carefully.

“Knowingly falsifying documents filed with the IRS is a crime,” said Shantelle P. Kitchen, IRS–Criminal Investigation acting special agent in charge of the Newark Field Office, in a statement. “Dishonest Miami tax preparers use a variety of methods to cheat the government. It is your responsibility to know what is on your income tax return. You are ultimately responsible for what gets filed with the IRS.”

Miami tax preparers fraud involves the preparation and filing of false income tax returns by preparers who claim inflated personal or business expenses, false deductions, unallowable credits or excessive exemptions on returns prepared for their clients, the IRS noted. However, when the IRS detects a fraudulent return, the taxpayer—not the return preparer—must pay the additional taxes and interest and may be subject to penalties.

During this tax filing season, the IRS cautioned taxpayers not to rush into a decision on who to use to prepare their returns, while acknowledging that most Miami tax preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients.

Acting special agent in charge Kitchen offered the following tips when choosing a Miami tax preparers:

• Be cautious of tax preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.

• Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund.

• Never sign a blank tax return.

• Use a reputable tax professional who signs their tax return and provides you with a copy. In addition, make sure the preparer includes their Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN, as required by law.

• Consider whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return months, or even years, after the return has been filed.

• Check the Miami tax preparers credentials. Only attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection and appeals. Other tax preparers may only represent taxpayers for audits of returns they have actually prepared.

• Find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and resources and holds them to a code of ethics.

• Ask friends and family members whether they know anyone who has used the tax professional and whether they were satisfied with the service they received.

Here are recent statistics on return preparer fraud from IRS-Criminal Investigation:

 

FY 2012    FY 2011    FY 2010

 

Investigations Initiated                  443           371          397

 

Prosecution Recommendations  276           233           202

 

Indictments/Informations             202           176           182

 

Convictions                                        178           163           145

 

Sentenced                                         172           163           132

 

Incarceration Rate*                        84.3%       87.1%       88.6%

 

Average Months to Serve              29             25             24

 

*Incarceration includes confinement to federal prison, halfway house, home detention, or some combination thereof.

Data Source: Criminal Investigation Management Information System

 

 

About 

Gustavo A Viera is the managing partner of Gustavo A Viera, PA. His experience spans more than 25 years. He started his career in public accounting at PriceWaterHouseCoopers where reached the level senior audit manager. His Fortune 500 experience includes positions as CFO – Latin America Region for both Hewlett Packard and Telefonica of Spain. Gustavo also writes a blog twice a week that addresses trending accounting and tax issues. He is an SBA Advisor and teaches workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs. His offices are located in Palmetto Bay, Coral Gables and Brickell Avenue in Miami FL, and is admitted to practice in the State of Florida as a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Gus welcomes questions and he can be reached at Gustavo A Viera PA 15715 S Dixie Hwy. Ste 409, Miami Fl. 33157, 2332 Galiano Street, 2nd Floor, Coral Gables, Fl 33134 or 1111 Brickell Avenue11th Floor Miami, FL 33131 Telephone 786-250-4450.

About the Author

Gustavo VieraGustavo A Viera is the managing partner of Gustavo A Viera, PA. His experience spans more than 25 years. He started his career in public accounting at PriceWaterHouseCoopers where reached the level senior audit manager. His Fortune 500 experience includes positions as CFO - Latin America Region for both Hewlett Packard and Telefonica of Spain. Gustavo also writes a blog twice a week that addresses trending accounting and tax issues. He is an SBA Advisor and teaches workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs. His offices are located in Palmetto Bay, Coral Gables and Brickell Avenue in Miami FL, and is admitted to practice in the State of Florida as a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Gus welcomes questions and he can be reached at Gustavo A Viera PA 15715 S Dixie Hwy. Ste 409, Miami Fl. 33157, 2332 Galiano Street, 2nd Floor, Coral Gables, Fl 33134 or 1111 Brickell Avenue11th Floor Miami, FL 33131 Telephone 786-250-4450.View all posts by Gustavo Viera →

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