The Oregon Department of Justice teamed up with the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Board of Tax Practitioners to crack down on an unlicensed tax preparer.
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced the guilty plea and sentencing of a Lowell woman on multiple tax-related charges.
"A recent audit found that 66,000 Oregonians failed to file tax returns in 2007, costing the state $109 million in lost revenues," said Attorney General Kroger. "The State of Oregon has to do better."
Carol May Jones pleaded guilty to one count of Oregon Personal Income Tax Evasion, ORS 314.075, a Class C Felony; three counts of Preparing a Tax Return Without a License, ORS 673.615, an unclassified misdemeanor; and four counts of Supplying False or Fraudulent Tax Information, ORS 314.075, a Class C Felony.
Jones was sentenced to five years of supervised probation and required to pay restitution in an amount yet to be determined. She is prohibited from providing legal, tax or financial advice in Oregon.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Groux prosecuted the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.
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. The Oregon State Board of Tax Practitioners also is taking regulatory action against Jones.
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. Those audited were required to pay back taxes with interest and 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 their Social Security numbers, bank account 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.
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