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February 23, 09

NEWS / Federal Court Bars Tennessee Resident from Preparing Tax Returns for Others

Chattanooga woman allegedly inflated deductions and falsified credits on customers’ returns

WASHINGTON - A federal district court in Tennessee has permanently barred Chattanooga resident Demita Brown-Watkins from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. Brown-Watkins agreed to the civil injunction order.

According to the government complaint, Brown-Watkins ran her tax-preparation business through two companies —Fastax and Rapid Tax Service —and advertised the "largest refund in town." The government complaint alleged that Brown-Watkins listed fictitious expenses (such as gifts to charity) on her customers’ Schedules A; selected the incorrect filing status or listed ineligible dependants on her customers’ returns; filed claims for education credits for customers who she knew were ineligible for them; and listed fictitious Schedule C businesses on the tax returns of customers who were ineligible to file a Schedule C.

The complaint further asserts that Brown-Watkins prepared more than 3,000 returns since 2004 and that, based on IRS estimates, Brown-Watkins deprived the U.S. Treasury of over $8 million in tax revenue.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco thanked Tax Division trial attorney Curtis Weidler for his efforts in obtaining the injunction. In the past decade, the Justice Department has obtained injunctions against more than 375 tax return preparers and tax-fraud promoters. Information about those cases is available on the Justice Department Web site.



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