Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C.

Some tax professionals seek personal gain through tax crimes

For many small business owners and individuals alike, keeping track of personal expenses, deductions and other tax-related matters can be time-consuming and confusing. For these reasons, many Ohio residents turn to professional tax preparer services. Individuals who are employed as tax preparers have a fiduciary obligation to act in the best interest of clients. Unfortunately, some tax preparers have been found to abuse both their clients' trust and pocketbooks.

A 56-year-old man was recently arrested and charged with tax crimes stemming from fraudulent tax returns he filed on behalf of clients. According to court documents from 2007 through 2011, the man profited handsomely by "fabricating and inflating itemized Schedule A deductions" on the tax returns of several clients. By filing fraudulent tax returns, the 56-year-old is believed to have stolen nearly $170,000.

The 56-year-old recently pled guilty to the criminal charge of "aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return". He is currently awaiting sentencing and faces up to three years in jail as well as fines in the amount up to $250,000.

It's not clear from court documents whether or not 56-year-old's clients were aware of his actions. In many cases, small business owners and individuals may unknowingly assist others, including tax preparers, in carrying out tax crimes such as tax fraud or tax evasion.

Individuals who are facing criminal charges related to tax crimes would be wise to take the charges seriously and retain a criminal defense attorney. An attorney who has experience handling such matters can provide legal advise and help ensure for the best possible legal outcome.

Source: Newark Patch, "Tax Preparer Admits to Filing Fake Returns for $168K Gain," Natalie Davis, June 26, 2013