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Justice Department Sues to Shut Down Florida Tax Return Preparers

The United States has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida seeking to bar three Miami Gardens-area tax return preparers and their businesses and franchises, from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and preparing tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.

The United States has simultaneously filed a request for a preliminary injunction that would immediately prohibit defendants from further preparing taxes during the pendency of the suit.

The civil suit against John L. Gay Jr., Tammi King, and Norman G. Williams Jr. also seeks an order requiring defendants to disgorge ill-gotten return preparation fees obtained through their alleged misconduct. According to the complaint, Gay is the owner of The Tax Doctor LLC, and operates three locations in the Miami Gardens-area under that name.

The complaint further alleges that The Tax Doctor LLC has two franchises, one in Miami and one in Ft. Lauderdale, that are owned and operated by King under the names Kingsworld Financial Services Inc. and Brightstar Management Corp. The complaint also alleges that Williams works as one of King’s tax return preparers as a second job.

According to the complaint, defendants manipulated Florida-area taxpayers’ returns — often without taxpayers’ knowledge — to significantly understate their tax liabilities or falsely render them eligible for tax credits. The complaint alleges they did so by fabricating charitable contributions, unreimbursed employee expenses, residential energy credits, and head-of-household filing status, as well as by fabricating business income or expenses in order to overstate claims for earned income tax credits. According to the complaint, defendants’ consistent understatement of liabilities and overstatement of refunds has resulted in millions of dollars of lost tax revenue to the United States.

As an example, the complaint alleges that Williams claimed more than $1.3 million in false or inflated charitable contributions for 96 of his fellow firefighters in 2020 alone.

These individuals, and many other of defendants’ customers, are now liable for repayment of income tax refunds wrongly claimed in their names, plus penalties and interest.

Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. More information can also be found here.

The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers. 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 electronic 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 website. An alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes can be found this page.

If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.

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