The Oregon Department of Justice teams up with the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Board of Tax Practitioners to crack down on an unlicensed tax preparer
Attorney General John Kroger today announced the 17-count indictment of a Lowell woman on tax charges.
"Obeying Oregon's tax law is not optional," said Attorney General Kroger.
The Marion County indictment accuses Carol May Jones, 68, of 17 counts of supplying false or fraudulent tax information, personal income tax evasion and preparing a tax return without a license.
All criminal defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The criminal prosecution is part of a joint effort by the Department of Justice and the Department of Revenue to crack down on tax cheats. Attorney General Kroger praised Revenue Director Elizabeth Harchenko for her efforts.
"I really appreciate Director Harchenko's leadership in protecting the integrity of Oregon's tax laws," Kroger said. "Working together, the Department of Justice and the Department of Revenue can make sure everyone pays their fair share."
The Oregon State Board of Tax Practitioners also announced today that it was taking regulatory action against Jones for her alleged repeated violations of Oregon law.
In 2007, the Board found Jones had violated state law 534 times by preparing, advising, or assisting in the preparation of personal income tax returns without a license. Jones was assessed $68,879.40 in costs and civil penalties.
In 2009, the Board sanctioned Jones again for preparing personal income tax returns without a license. The Board ultimately determined that Jones had committed at least 311 more violations and imposed $520,947.90 on her for costs and civil penalties.
Using an unlicensed tax preparer can cause significant problems for Oregon consumers. Many of Jones' clients have been audited for receiving excessive tax refunds. Every personal income tax return prepared by Jones and audited by the Oregon Department of Revenue contained significant errors, and former clients were required to pay back taxes with interest. In addition to back taxes, those individuals face civil penalties.
Oregon taxpayers can protect themselves by verifying that prospective tax preparers are licensed with the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners, at http://www.oregon.gov/OTPB/about_us.shtml or the Oregon Board of Accountancy, at http://egov.oregon.gov/BOA/. Also, consumers should never give out personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank accounts, or mortgage account information to a paid tax preparer unless they have determined the preparer is licensed.
In order to receive compensation for preparing taxes in Oregon, an individual must be:
A tax preparer or a tax consultant licensed by the Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners;
A CPA or public accountant licensed in Oregon by the Board of Accountancy or a CPA or public accountant licensed by another state's Board of Accountancy; or
A lawyer or the employee of a lawyer.
"The Board of Tax Practitioners takes its mission of protecting Oregon consumers from incompetent and unethical tax preparers seriously," said Ron Wagner, executive director of the board. "The action taken by the Board in this case demonstrates that the agency will pursue every available means by which it can protect Oregonians from tax fraud."
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org