- Days left
When consumers think about tax fraud, they typically think about the individuals who fail to report all their income or who take bad deductions. Many times the professional tax preparers themselves are forgotten, even though they can be willing participants in the fraud (and sometimes they're the masterminds!).

With this in mind, tax officials in New York launched a sting operation directed at dishonest tax preparers. They sent in undercover agents to pose as tax clients, and were shocked at the amount of tax fraud suggested (and carried out) by tax preparers. They went so far as to tell the "clients" that they were purposely not reporting some income, and they destroyed records related to taxable income.

In all, 85 tax preparers were approached by undercover agents, and 40% of them committed fraud. This infuriates me, because for every dollar in taxes that one taxpayer illegally avoids paying, that dollar must be collected from the other honest taxpayers. I've prepared plenty of tax returns in my professional career, and I can't imagine advising clients to cheat.

I've even assessed plenty of "gray areas" for clients and advised them to go the route that would cause them to owe more in taxes, because that's what I believed to be the most responsible and defensible position.

Professional tax preparers who aid clients in cheating on their income tax returns should be punished severely and barred from providing tax services in the future. There is simply no excuse for this behavior, and I hate that their actions reflect poorly on the rest of us who prepare taxes honestly.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Introduction to Retirement Funds

Target date funds help you maintain a long term portfolio.

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

What is IRS Form 8824: Like-Kind Exchange

Ordinarily, when you sell something for more than what you paid to get it, you have a capital gain; when you sell it for less than what you paid, you have a capital loss. Both can affect your taxes. But if you immediately buy a similar property to replace the one you sold, the tax code calls that a "like-kind exchange," and it lets you delay some or all of the tax effects. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses Form 8824 for like-kind exchanges.

What are ABLE Accounts? Tax Benefits Explained

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts allow the families of disabled young people to set aside money for their care in a way that earns special tax benefits. ABLE accounts work much like the so-called 529 accounts that families can use to save money for education; in fact, an ABLE account is really a special kind of 529.

What is IRS Form 8829: Expenses for Business Use of Your Home

One of the many benefits of working at home is that you can deduct legitimate expenses from your taxes. The downside is that since home office tax deductions are so easily abused, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tends to scrutinize them more closely than other parts of your tax return. However, if you are able to substantiate your home office deductions, you shouldn't be afraid to claim them. IRS Form 8829 helps you determine what you can and cannot claim.

What is IRS Form 8859: Carryforward of D.C. First-Time Homebuyer Credit

Form 8859 is a tax form that will never be used by the majority of taxpayers. However, if you live in the District of Columbia (D.C.), it could be the key to saving thousands of dollars on your taxes. While many first-time home purchasers in D.C. are entitled to a federal tax credit, Form 8859 calculates the amount of carry-forward credit you can use in future years, not the amount of your initial tax credit.

What is IRS Form 8379: Injured Spouse Allocation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the power to seize income tax refunds when a taxpayer owes certain debts, such as unpaid taxes or overdue child support. Sometimes, a married couple's joint tax refund will be seized because of a debt for which only one spouse is responsible. When that happens, the other spouse is said to be "injured" and can file Form 8379 to get at least some of the refund.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum