The United States has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California seeking to bar a San Diego tax return preparer from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and preparing federal income tax returns for others.
The civil complaint was filed against Archibald W. Smith Jr., also known as Archie Smith, and alleges that he operated a tax preparation business in San Diego, California, under his own name and the names “Ablizzia Bookkeeping and Production” and “ABPC Inc.” According to the complaint, Smith prepared and filed tax returns that falsely understated his customers’ federal income tax liabilities by fabricating businesses and related business expenses; fabricating deductions for unreimbursed employee business expenses and charitable contributions; and overstating tax credits for solar-panel installation.
According to the complaint, the defendant prepared over 3,500 tax returns in aggregate for tax years 2013 through 2020. The complaint alleges that an IRS review of 80 income tax returns for tax years 2013 through 2017 resulted in deficiencies totally nearly $1 million. As a result, the complaint alleges, the defendant has cost the United States lost tax revenue. The complaint further alleges that the defendant harmed his customers, who could potentially face large income tax debts and may be liable for penalties and interest.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams and taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant. (More information can also be found here.) The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax preparer, has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers, and offers information on how to avoid “ghost” tax preparers, whose refusal to sign a return should be a red flag to taxpayers. The IRS also has a list of important reminders for taxpayers who are about to file their 2020 tax returns, including how to prepare for a smooth filing process.
In addition, IRS Free File, a public-private partnership, offers free online tax preparation and filing options on IRS partner websites for individuals whose adjusted gross income is under $72,000. For individuals whose income is over that threshold, IRS Free File offers electronical federal tax forms that can be filled out and filed online for free.
In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s website. An alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes can be found this page. If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.