In Uncategorized on 04/15/2021 at 10:29

CSTJ Lewis (“Spells It Right”) Carluzzo can but sigh as he laments that another innocent taxpayer has been taken advantage of by the less-than-scrupulous Federally-unregulated preparer. And in this case, both taxpayers and preparer are located in CA; I am informed that CA is one of the very few States that seriously regulates tax preparers.

Vilma Hernandez & Rene A. Hernandez, Docket No. 3373-20S, filed 4/15/21 (don’t panic, filing date for individual returns extended to 5/17/21, but payment is not), an off-the-bencher, furnish the text both for CSTJ Lew and me.

“During the relevant period Mr. Hernandez was employed as a mechanic with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Mrs. Hernandez was employed as a help desk coordinator, also with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.” Transcript, at p. 4.

It seems that the paid preparer was a wee bit inventive (not so say fictionist) in toting up the Hernandez’s deductions.

“Mrs. Hernandez, who is unsophisticated in Federal tax matters, relied on her return preparer to accurately prepare petitioners’ … joint Federal income tax returns. At trial, Mrs. Hernandez agreed that the determinations in the notice are proper. She explained that the overstatement of deductions resulted from her return preparer arbitrarily showing deductions unsupported by actual expenses. She was remorseful that she did not discover her return preparer’s errors at the time she signed the return and suggested that return preparers should in some manner or other be regulated.” Transcript, at p. 5.

Well, it isn’t for CSTJ Lew to give Mrs. Hernandez legal advice. And I’m not admitted to practice in CA, so I certainly can’t suggest she consult the CA Business and Professions Code, Division 8, Chapter 14, and contact the CA Tax Education Council, which regulates tax preparers in The Bear Republic, and requires them to be bonded.

But I can join with CSTJ Lew: “Many of us who repeatedly see the ultimate consequences of unscrupulous return prepares [sic; I think you meant “preparers,” Judge] might very well agree with her suggestion.” At least as to the States where tax prep is a free-fire zone.

And maybe so even lobby for Federal regulation as well.


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