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Orem tax preparer cost government $416M, feds say

Published: Friday, Nov. 1 2013 3:59 p.m. MDT

Federal authorities want to shut down an Orem tax return preparation service that they allege resulted in a $416 million loss to the government the past five years.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Federal authorities want to shut down an Orem tax return preparation service that they allege resulted in a $416 million loss to the government the past five years.

The U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal court in Salt Lake City to bar Sergio Fernando Sosa and his company, Sergio Centro Latino, from preparing tax returns for others. The DOJ claims Sosa routinely prepares returns for individuals and corporations that improperly claim deductions and result in understated federal tax liabilities.

A complaint in U.S. District Court alleges Sosa falsely claims dependants, earned income tax credits and child tax credits for customers. He also files business returns with expenses and deductions for fake entities, underreported income and inflated expenses, according to the complaint.

Authorities say Sosa, who has prepared returns since 1994, continued to file false returns even after being hit with thousands of dollars in fines for violating the tax code.

Sosa signed or prepared 39,698 federal tax returns for customers from 2008 to 2013, according to the complaint. An Internal Revenue Service audit of 90 returns showed an average loss to the government of $10,495 per return. Taking the total number of returns and the average loss, the IRS estimates the government lost $416 million.

— Dennis Romboy

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