On March 13, 2022, a federal court in Detroit entered a permanent injunction against Jeanisia Saquise Allen and First Choice Tax Solutions, LLC, The Tax Experts, Inc., The Tax Experts, LLC, and Top Notch Taxes, Inc., prohibiting them from preparing federal tax returns for others and owning, operating, or franchising a tax return preparation business. Following a payment by Allen to the government pursuant to a settlement agreement, the court, with the government’s consent, today dismissed claims against Allen and her businesses seeking the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains that they received for the preparation of tax returns.
In addition, in related cases also filed in the same Detroit federal court, the court previously entered permanent injunctions against Jennifer Sherman and Erica McGowan, and their respective related businesses, Sherman Management Co., LLC and America Enterprise, LLC. The government complaints in those cases alleged that Sherman and McGowan entered into agreements with Allen and her entity, The Tax Experts LLC, to use the name “The Tax Experts” to conduct business preparing tax returns. The complaints in the cases against Sherman and McGown alleged that their companies falsely claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit and education credits, fabricated business income and expenses, and claimed improper filing status for customers.
A third lawsuit against Annetta Powell and Jasmine Powell, who the government also alleges entered into agreements to use the name “The Tax Experts” to conduct a tax preparation business, is ongoing in federal court in Detroit. Annetta Powell agreed to the entry of a preliminary injunction barring her and her businesses from preparing federal tax returns for others until the date on which trial on whether a permanent injunction is warranted occurs.
In the case against Allen, the complaint alleges that The Tax Experts has operated as many as 32 tax preparation stores during a single year, primarily in metro-Detroit, but also in Chicago and Los Angeles. Over the course of three years (2017, 2018, and 2019), businesses operating as “The Tax Experts” allegedly prepared more than 17,000 federal tax returns claiming over $82 million in tax refunds. The complaint alleges that Allen and The Tax Experts failed to train, oversee, and control businesses that operate under an agreement to use that name. The complaint against Allen further alleges the Tax Experts prepare false or fraudulent tax returns exhibiting common and widespread false income, expenses, claims, credits, and deductions. According to the complaint against Allen, the IRS examined 716 federal tax returns prepared by The Tax Experts, resulting in a total additional tax owed to the United States of $3,552,114, or an average of $5,349.57 for each adjusted return.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
Shady tax return preparers remain a concern of the IRS, which recently warned taxpayers about unscrupulous tax return preparers as part of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen series. As the 2023 tax season continues, taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant against unscrupulous tax preparers. 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 also offers 10 tips to avoid tax season fraud and ways to safeguard their personal information.
Taxpayers seeking assistance can access the IRS’s free directory of federal tax preparers. The IRS also has programs offering free basic return preparation for qualifying seniors and individuals with low to moderate income). 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 Department of Justice 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 on 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.