Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 26, 2016
Justice Department Sues to Stop Florida Tax Return Preparer
West Palm Beach Return Preparer Allegedly Overstated Refunds through Fabricated and Inflated Deductions and Credits
The United States has asked a federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, to stop Renel Herard and his companies, Herard Tax Services aka Herard Security & Training and Herard Multi Services Inc., from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.
The complaint alleges that Herard has been preparing tax returns since approximately 2009 and has prepared more than 4,000 tax returns for customers since 2011. The complaint alleges also that Herard prepares returns that unlawfully understate income tax liabilities and overstate refunds by fabricating and/or exaggerating deductions and tax credits his clients are not eligible to take. Herard’s practices include fabricating Schedule C losses for non-existent businesses, and falsely claiming fuel tax, child care and education credits for ineligible taxpayers who did not incur qualified expenses according to the complaint.
The complaint further alleges that beginning with returns he prepared for the 2014 tax year, Herard falsely claimed the Premium Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit designed to help eligible individuals and families with low or moderate income afford health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the Exchange, by claiming it for customers who did not purchase health insurance through the Exchange.
Altogether, the government complaint alleges that loss to the U.S. Treasury from the defendants’ activities may be in the millions of dollars.
Return preparer fraud is one of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2016. The IRS has some tips on their 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. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website. An alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes can be found on this page.