Miami residents Sharon Angulo and Claudia Zuloaga have been barred by a Florida federal court from preparing federal income tax returns for others, according to the Department of Justice. The government has alleged that the defendants helped their customers prepare Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Forms 1099-OID in order to report phony income tax withholding.
The defendants’ customers then filed federal income tax returns that claimed tax refunds on the basis of the fictitious withholding. According to the complaint, the defendants prepared or assisted in preparation of 19 or more tax returns that reported fictitious withholding and claimed fraudulent refunds totaling over $3 million.
In addition to banning Ms. Angulo and Ms. Zuloaga from preparing tax returns for others, the court ordered the defendants:
- to present to the federal government a list of the clients for whom they prepared fraudulent IRS forms and tax returns since 2008, and
- to return to the U.S. Treasury all money they received from the tax fraud — a percentage of the fraudulent tax refunds paid to them by their clients.
Whistleblowers Can Help Stop Tax Fraud.
Because tax fraud is so costly, it is important for the government to identify and stop tax fraud, as well as recover any fraudulently unpaid taxes. Whistleblowers can be very important in identifying and fighting tax fraud when they have information about the underlying facts.
The IRS Whistleblower Office can offer financial compensation to whistleblowers who provide information that results in the recovery of fraudulently unpaid taxes. Under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, a whistleblower may be eligible for a monetary award from the IRS Whistleblower Office of 15 to 30 percent of the total amount collected because of the whistleblower’s information.