Sharon Angulo, Claudia Zuloaga, Dirty Dozen Tax Scam, allegedly fake withholding preparing tax returns.

Angulo and Zuloaga, accounting and tax professionals, accused of helping defraud the IRS.

A Miami federal court permanently banned Claudia Zuloaga and Sharon Angulo, from preparing federal tax returns for others, the United States Justice Department announced. The injunction order was signed by Judge Joan A. Lenard of the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

According to the government complaint in the civil case, Angulo and Zuloaga help customers use Internal Revenue Service Forms 1099-OID to report income tax withholdings for more than was actually withheld. It is alleged that Angulo and Zuloaga customers have been filing federal tax returns claiming tax refunds based on the fake withholding. Allegedly the two defendants prepared or assisted in preparation of tax returns with false withholding and claiming fraudulent tax refunds totaling more than 3 million dollars.

The court has ordered Angulo and Zuloaga to pay to the U. S. Treasury the funds they received from customers who paid them a percentage of the tax refunds received through the scheme. The court also ordered the defendants to provide the government with a list of all persons for whom they prepared federal tax returns or forms since 2008.

The IRS lists return preparer fraud as one of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2012. In the past decade the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained hundreds of injunctions to stop the promotion of tax-fraud schemes and the preparation of fraudulent returns. More information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

One of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2012

Return preparer fraud  About 60 percent of taxpayers will use tax professionals this year to prepare and file their tax returns. Most return preparers provide honest service to their clients. But as in any other business, there are also some who prey on unsuspecting taxpayers.

Questionable return preparers have been known to skim off their clients’ refunds, charge inflated fees for return preparation services and attract new clients by promising guaranteed or inflated refunds. Taxpayers should choose carefully when hiring a tax preparer. Federal courts have issued hundreds of injunctions ordering individuals to cease preparing returns, and the Department of Justice has pending complaints against many others.

In 2012, every paid preparer needs to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and must enter it on the returns he or she prepares.

Signals to watch for when you are dealing with an unscrupulous return preparer would include that they:

  • Do not sign the return or will not include a Preparer Tax identification Number on it.
  • Do not give you a copy of your tax return.
  • Promise larger-than-normal tax refunds.
  • Charge a percentage of the refund amount as preparation fee.
  • Require you to split the refund to pay the preparation fee.
  • Add forms to the return you have never filed before.
  • Encourage you to place false information on your return, such as false income, expenses and/or credits.

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