September 13, 2009
Time for IRS to review all ACORN-prepared tax filings
The federal government should review all tax returns prepared by ACORN tax preparers (and all loan applications prepared by ACORN -- but that is a separate review process).
That the IRS knows who these people are is suggested by this article, which I suppose was repeated throughout the country:
... ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) Tax and Benefits Centers in Hartford and Bridgeport are ready to assist CT Taxpayers. ACORN has partnered with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (VITA) program to provide free tax preparation for low and moderate income taxpayers who cannot afford traditional paid preparers. The ACORN Tax Preparation Centers can electronically file current year taxes and provide fast, direct-deposited refunds, usually in 7 - 10 working days. For more information please follow this link: http://www.taxandbenefitcenters.acorn.org/ or call Nicholas Graber-Grace to make an appointment at (860)523-1017 or e-mail email@example.com.
The IRS routinely seeks and gets harsh prison sentences for tax preparers who knowingly file false returns:
"The IRS will continue to aggressively investigate tax return preparers who knowingly prepare false tax returns," said Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office."These dishonest preparers undermine the integrity of our tax system and must be held accountable," DeMarco said. "This nine-year sentence serves as a reminder to all tax return preparers who intentionally prepare fraudulent tax returns. Their disregard for our tax system can lead them to prison."
"The IRS Return Preparer Program focuses on enhancing compliance in the return-preparer community by investigating and referring criminal activity by return preparers to the Department of Justice for prosecution and/or asserting appropriate civil penalties against unscrupulous return preparers."
I wonder whether, with clear evidence that two ACORN offices involved in preparing knowingly false returns on videotape, the IRS will cease its collaborative efforts with ACORN and whether it is referring to the Department of Justice ACORN's clearly criminal conduct.
The IRS launched a VITA program to arrange for volunteer tax preparers to assist the poor last year -- ACORN working with IRS established 80 such centers:
ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - moved their Raleigh offices into the House of Labor last Spring. ACORN's mission is to build power for low- and moderate-income families by working together for social justice and stronger communities.In 80 cities nationwide, ACORN has partnered with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Prep Assistance (VITA) program to provide free tax preparation for low and moderate income taxpayers who cannot afford traditional paid preparers. The ACORN Tax Preparation Centers can electronically file current year taxes and provide fast, direct-deposited refunds, usually in 7 to 10 working days.
Free filing is available for people whose income is $40,000 and under. ACORN itself noted:
During the 2008 tax season, ACORN connected more than 42,000 families to over $46 million in tax refunds, including over $28 million in earned income and child tax credits.For 2009 the Centers are expanding their outreach efforts to increase awareness of ACORN's benefits screening and application assistance services. Through partnerships with state food stamp programs and local food banks, ACORN Centers will reach out to those who need food assistance and help them apply for benefits.
Last year the IRS partnered with ACORN on tax prep and this year they expanded it. The opportunity for fraud is enormous and the IRS will either have to monitor all returns filed by these people and treat them as they do other preparers--filing fraud charges when there's fraud or can the program altogether.