Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is seeking greater authority to find and penalize those guilty of tax fraud, citing the “epidemic proportions” of the problem. Franchot hopes that new legislation will give his agency the ability to oversee tax fraud laws and to demand accountability from tax preparers.

With the possibility of more intense scrutiny from the Comptroller’s office, it is good to know that legal assistance from a qualifiedMaryland tax attorney at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg is available to those who need help filing their taxes or require legal defense in the event that they are accused of tax fraud. Tax problems with submitted returns have involved business income reported by those who don’t own businesses, greatly elevated refund requests compared to previous years, problematic business expense claims, and improper dependent claims.

After finding so many issues with tax returns filed by several tax preparation businesses in Maryland, Franchot noted that “I guess everyone assumed that someone else was [overseeing tax fraud investigations]” and has requested that legislators allow his office to step in.

Processing returns from 60+ tax preparation businesses suspended

The Office of the Comptroller has suspended the processing of returns from more than 60 different tax preparation businesses in Maryland. Of this number, 24 are Liberty Tax Services franchises, which Franchot specifically noted as problematic: “It turns out that a lot of these franchises are not on the level.”

Four Liberty Tax locations, three in Salisbury and one in Pocomoke City will continue to have their tax returns processed. In addition to receiving critical attention from the Comptroller’s Office, Liberty Tax is also investigating its own sites. CEO and founder John T. Hewitt said that the company is fully cooperating with state officials and that “There is no place in the Liberty Tax system for franchisees or preparers who commit fraud or who take other shortcuts.”

Individuals who have had their taxes prepared at a Liberty Tax franchise and have concerns about possible entanglements withMaryland tax crimes are invited to call a criminal tax defense lawyerat Rosenberg Martin Greenberg to make sure that their returns have not violated any legal statutes or for advice with any related tax fraud concerns.

Liberty Tax to conduct internal investigation

Hewitt specified steps that his company has taken to investigate possible incidents of tax fraud at some franchises: “We created a separate compliance group, and named a Chief Compliance Officer last year, in order to be able to respond quickly to compliance concerns. I have asked that group to determine whether Maryland’s concerns about a handful of offices are justified, and to determine what additional actions we may need to take, irrespective of the state’s review.”

Tax preparers like those working at Liberty Tax who are the subject of a tax fraud investigation and feel the need for legal assistance are advised to call Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, Maryland’s preeminent tax controversy practice, for help. You can contact our offices at 401-727-6600 to set up a consultation.