Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is assisting victims in a local tax fraud case after a federal grand jury recently indicted a Charlotte woman on charges of preparing false returns and obstructing a criminal investigation.
Andrivia Wells, also known as Tina Smith, Tina Harris, Andrivia Smith and Andrivia Harris, of Rush Tax Service has been indicted on charges of aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent tax returns for her clients and obstructing the criminal investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by destroying records.
The indictment alleges that through Rush Tax Service, Wells prepared, or caused to be prepared, more than 6,000 fraudulent tax returns and Rush Tax Services received more than $1.2 million in fees from her clients between 2013 and 2017.
According to allegations, Wells prepared income tax returns that claimed false filing statuses, false American Opportunity and education credits, false Schedule C businesses, and false fuel tax credits, in order to inflate refunds paid by the IRS.
The indictment further alleges that tax preparation fees were taken directly from the clients’ tax refunds, and in many cases the clients were unaware of how much they were being charged, which was frequently more than $500.
When tax filing fraud occurs, taxpayers are often unaware of a preparer’s actions until the IRS notifies them of a discrepancy in their tax returns.
“Getting a letter from the IRS is especially frightening and confusing for a victim of tax fraud,” said Arthur Bartlett, director and attorney for the Advocacy Center’s North Carolina Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. “That’s why we’re helping those impacted by this case understand their rights and advocating on their behalf before the IRS.”
According to the IRS, more than half of U.S. taxpayers used a paid tax preparer in the 2016 tax year. The IRS urges taxpayers to be selective when choosing a tax preparer because even if a preparer commits fraud, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of information on the tax return.
Contact the Advocacy Center by calling 704-376-1600 (Mecklenburg County residents), 800-438-1254 (residents outside Mecklenburg County) if you had your tax returns prepared by Rush Tax Services and you believe that your tax returns were not prepared correctly.
The Advocacy Center’s Tax Clinic may be able to assist you in correcting any errors that were made during the preparation of your tax returns and dealing with any liabilities that result.
The Tax Clinic provides low-income taxpayers with representation in federal and state tax controversies and educates individuals about their rights and responsibilities as U.S. taxpayers.