Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Comptroller Franchot Halts Returns from Baltimore Businesses amid Pattern of Questionable Filings
-Effective Immediately Pending Investigation of Several Liberty Tax Franchises-
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 27, 2016) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that his office would suspend processing electronic tax returns from several Liberty Tax Service franchise locations in the Baltimore metropolitan area due to a high volume of questionable returns received.
The businesses, which have been sent written notice of the action, are located at: 2400 E Monument St., Baltimore; 7730 Wise Ave., Dundalk; 1742 W North Ave., Baltimore; 2401 Liberty Heights Ave., Baltimore; 1808 Pennsylvania Ave., Baltimore; 3308 Greenmount Ave., Baltimore; and 503 W Lexington St., Baltimore.
Comptroller Franchot, pursuant to the recently signed IRS Security Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU"), has shared this information with other tax agencies. The Comptroller’s Office also has advised the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation of the decision, so that they can take any additional appropriate actions.
The suspicious characteristics detected on the tax returns prompting the determination included:
*Business income reported when taxpayers did not own a business.
*Refund amounts requested much higher than previous year tax returns.
*Inflated and/or undocumented business expenses.
*Dependents claimed when taxpayer did not provide required 50 percent support or care.
*Inflated wages and withholding information.
Taxpayers should carefully review their returns for these issues and should be suspicious if a preparer: deducts fees from the taxpayer’s refund to be deposited into the tax preparer’s account; does not sign the tax return; or fails to include the Preparer Taxpayer Identification number "P-TIN" on the return. If taxpayers suspect fraud, they are asked to immediately report the issue to the Comptroller's Office by calling 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or by emailing TAXHELP@comp.state.md.us.
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