Date: January 27, 2020
A federal court in Columbus, Georgia, permanently barred Stacy Lee and Heather Lee from preparing tax returns for others and from owning, operating, or franchising a tax return preparation business. The court also ordered Stacy Lee and Heather Lee to close their tax return preparation stores. Stacy Lee and Heather Lee consented to the relief.
According to the complaint, Stacy Lee operated two tax return preparation stores under the names Fast Track Tax Service in Talbotton, Georgia, and TimeLee Tax Service in Columbus, Georgia. Stacy Lee's daughter, Heather Lee, allegedly prepared tax returns at the two stores as well. From 2013 to 2018, Stacy Lee prepared 3,728 tax returns and Heather Lee prepared 1,116 tax returns, the complaint alleges.
The government further claimed that Stacy and Heather Lee prepared false federal income tax returns, understated federal income tax liabilities, and improperly claimed tax credits in order to obtain inflated tax refunds for customers. In particular, according to the complaint, the defendants fabricated deductions for charitable contributions, unreimbursed employee business expenses, and medical expenses; reported profits and losses for fictitious businesses; and claimed false education credits, energy credits, and childcare credits.
Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS' Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers. In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers.