People You Probably Don’t Want to Have Do Your Taxes

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This list could probably get a lot longer, but right now I have two.

First, Marva Bilberry, of Belton, Missouri, who runs Bilberry Bookkeeping & Tax Service, at least for now.  On April 11, the Justice Department sued Bilberry, alleging that she has routinely filed fraudulent tax returns for customers in the Kansas City area over the past several years.  The government may be jumping to conclusions here, though — just because 98 percent of the returns checked by the IRS have turned out to be wrong, and just because on average her customers underpaid by $3,167, does not make her a fraud.  She might just have been wrong 98 percent of the time, and the last time I checked that was not against the law.

Also, tax laws are really complicated.  That was Bilberry’s explanation, according to the complaint, which alleges that Bilberry told an IRS investigator that tax laws just "change too much to keep track of."  They sure do.  It’s getting so bad you might have to hire someone who claims to be an expert in that area to help you keep things straight.

Second, Uzeegoa Makeba Sayles, of California.  You don’t want Sayles doing your taxes because if she is, that probably means you’re dead.  The government charged Sayles on April 12 with three counts of filing false claims, alleging that she has filed more than 200 fraudulent tax returns worth more than $1 million using the stolen identities of dead people.  According to prosecutors, the IRS uncovered two critical pieces of information that led them to suspect fraud.  First, it noticed that many tax returns were requesting deposits into a small number of accounts, which it then traced to Sayles.  Second, it noticed that the refunds had all been requested by dead people.  I guess a filing status of "Deceased" doesn’t really raise a red flag with the IRS, as long as the decedent is paying.  Once the dead start asking for refunds, though, something’s got to be done.

Link: NBC News (reporting on U.S. v. Bilberry)
Link: Yahoo! News (reporting on U.S. v. Sayles)