WASHINGTON – The United States has asked a federal court in St. Louis, Mo., to permanently bar Joseph Burns, d/b/a Electronic Tax Service, Joseph Thomas and International Tax Service Inc. (Thomas's business), from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit alleges that Burns and Thomas, who previously worked together, prepare fraudulent tax returns for customers from the same office building in the midtown neighborhood of St. Louis.
According to the complaint, the defendants repeatedly fabricate deductions on customers' returns and report false filing statutses in order to illegally lower their customers' federal tax liabilities and to generate larger tax refunds. The government alleges that the defendants also prepare returns containing bogus Schedule C income which illegally allows some customers to claim the maximum earned income tax credit. Based on past audit results, the government alleges that the loss to the U.S. Treasury caused by these defendants' ongoing return preparation activities could be as much as $6 million annually.