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U.S. Court Bars Miami Flea Market Tax Preparer


WASHINGTON - A federal judge in Miami has permanently barred Tashanna McFarland from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced. The United States sued McFarland, of Miramar, Fla., in December alleging that she promoted the scam through her tax preparation business at a Miami flea market booth. The permanent injunction order, to which McFarland agreed, was signed by Magistrate Judge Stephen T. Brown of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

According to the government complaint, McFarland claimed the fuel tax credit on her customers’ returns so they could take refunds to which they were not entitled. Federal law imposes a fuel tax on gasoline and diesel fuel in the purchase price at the pump. Businesses can claim a fuel tax credit in certain rare circumstances, but most businesses and consumers who use cars or trucks on roads and highways are not eligible for the credit.

According to the complaint, one customer—a babysitter—allegedly claimed on a McFarland-prepared return that the customer purchased 16,451 gallons of gasoline for business-related purposes. The suit noted that for such a claim to be accurate, the babysitter (whose total income for the year was $9,316) would have had to spend approximately $36,192 for gasoline that year—nearly four times her total income—and would have to have driven approximately 246,765 miles during the year, an average of 676 miles each day, seven days a week.

The court order requires McFarland to mail a copy of the injunction to all persons for whom she has prepared a federal tax return or form since 2004 and to provide the government with a list of her customers’ names, addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers.

Since 2001, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained more than 230 injunctions to stop the promotion of tax fraud schemes and the preparation of fraudulent returns.


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