Comptroller stops processing returns from private tax preparers

Franchot

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot with his favorite newspaper.

Red flags in filings lead comptroller to take action for third straight week

ANNAPOLIS – In his latest effort to combat tax fraud and identity theft, Comptroller Peter Franchot this week announced that, effective immediately, he has suspended processing electronic and paper tax returns from 11 private tax preparers at 14 locations throughout the region, due to a high volume of questionable returns received.

The new preparers or businesses notified of the action are:
• Tax Rite Services – 3406 Belair Road, Baltimore and 90 Shawgo Court, Middle River
• Deldan Tax and Accounting Services – 9208 Fairlane Place, Laurel
• Beverly Branch – 2230 E. Monument St., Baltimore and 1439 W. Patapsco Road, Baltimore
• Tax Relief Solution – 13042 Old Stagecoach Road, Laurel
• Loyalty Tax Services – 4602A Harford Road, Baltimore
• REMG Inc. – 8715 Windsor Mill Road, Windsor Mill
• EMACK Tax Service – 123 W. Saratoga St., Baltimore
• People Tax Service (aka Neighborhood Tax Services) – 3219 Belair Road, Suite A, Baltimore
• AO Tax Services – 2307 E. Monument St., Baltimore, and 3231 Belair Road, Baltimore
• Hartley Financial Enterprises LLC – 4602 Hampnett Ave., Suite 3, Baltimore
• Fred Accounting & Tax Services – 760 Morton St. NW, Washington, D.C.

The additional suspensions follow announcements in the past two weeks that the Comptroller’s Office had halted processing returns from 23 Liberty Tax Service franchises and three private preparers.

Comptroller Franchot, pursuant to the recently signed IRS Security Memorandum of
Understanding (“MOU”), has shared this information with other tax agencies. The Comptroller’s Office has also advised the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation of the decision, so that they can take any additional appropriate actions.

The suspicious characteristics detected on the tax returns prompting the determination included:

* Business income reported when taxpayers did not own a business.
* Refund amounts requested much higher than previous year tax returns.
* Inflated and/or undocumented business expenses.
* Dependents claimed when taxpayer did not provide required 50 percent support or care.
* Inflated wages and withholding information.

Taxpayers should carefully review their returns for these issues and should be suspicious if a tax preparer deducts fees from their refund, does not sign their tax return, or fails to include their preparer taxpayer identification number “P-TIN” on the return. In the event that a taxpayer suspects fraud, they are asked to immediately report the issue to the Comptroller’s Office by calling 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or by emailing TAXHELP@comp.state.md.us.

To review the list of previous preparers from which Comptroller Franchot has suspended processing returns, visit the Comptroller’s website at http://www.marylandtaxes.com/

Comptroller Franchot will hold a media roundtable on Friday, February 12, at 10 a.m. in the Comptroller’s Reception Room of the Goldstein Treasury Building to brief reporters on the growing challenge of tax fraud and steps his office has undertaken to address this problem.

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