Congressmen Cohen, Scott Introduce Bill to Protect Consumers from Fraudulent Tax Preparers
WASHINGTON -- Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Congressman Robert “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) today reintroduced the Tax Return Preparer Accountability Act to protect consumers from unscrupulous tax preparation businesses. The legislation would give the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) explicit authority to ensure that paid tax preparers are adequately trained and maintain high standards of integrity.
“More than half of Americans rely on professional tax preparers when filing their returns. Unfortunately, throughout the country, tax preparers, some of whom are inadequately prepared and some of whom are crooked, are defrauding honest taxpayers with outrageous fees and cheating them out of the refunds they deserved,” said Congressman Cohen. “This bill would lead to taxpayers getting their fair return and prevent these dishonest business practices and protect the pocketbooks of working families and the federal treasury alike.”
“The issues with fraudulent tax preparers faced by my constituents and many others in 2012 demonstrated a need to change the law to better deter and prevent similar scams from happening in the future,” said Congressman Scott. “This legislation grants the IRS authority to oversee tax preparers and to ensure that they are adequately trained. This authority will protect taxpayers from predatory activities that masquerade as federal tax preparation services.”
Congressman Cohen first introduced this bill in response to Memphis-based Mo’ Money Taxes, which was caught defrauding honest taxpayers with outrageous fees and cheating them out of the refunds they deserved. In September 2013, a federal court permanently barred the owners and a former manager of Mo’ Money Taxes from preparing tax returns for others and of owning or operating a tax return preparation business. Mo’ Money Taxes had been the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division lawsuit seeking to shut the business down. The suit also accused its owners of creating and maintaining a business environment that encourages the preparation of fraudulent federal income tax returns. In 2015, three Mo’ Money tax preparers were indicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States and for aiding in preparation of 19 false and fraudulent tax returns.