Feds seek injunction against tax preparer

The Justice Department filed for an injunction Monday to bar a New Iberia tax preparer from working on federal returns, alleging her business is responsible for at least $1 million in lost tax revenue tied to improper refunds and understated tax bills.

The injunction, filed in feder al court in Lafayette, also seeks to force Joyce Bougere-Keyes to turn over all tax filings she has prepared for the past four years and to provide contact information for all of her customers for that time period.

Federal authorities allege Bougere-Keyes, owner of Joyce Tax & Financial Service, routinely fabricated deductions and claimed inflated or improper tax credits for clients to secure undue refunds, a portion of which she kept as her fee.

She prepared about 7,500 federal tax returns since 2009, and the Internal Revenue Service alleges most of those are suspect, according to the court filings Monday.

Clients contacted by IRS agents have said they were unaware Bougere-Keyes fabricated information on their tax returns, according to the filings.

One example cited in the case involved a man whose 2010 tax return indicated a $20,810 loss from a carpentry business he owned, but the man told agents he had never worked as a carpenter and had no idea why the information was on his return.

In other cases, Bougere-Keyes claimed special education tax credits for clients who were not attending school.

Federal authorities also claim the woman downplayed her own tax liability, reporting in 2012 that she earned $74,956 when the IRS argues the figure should have been nearly twice that — about $141,505 — based on her normal fee of $65 per return times the minimum of 2,177 returns she is believed to have worked on that year.

Attorneys for the Justice Department stated in Monday’s filings that Bougere-Keyes likely cost the federal government more than $1 million in lost tax revenue due to underreported tax liability and improper refunds.

No court date has been set on the injunction, which would also require Bougere-Keyes to send a certified copy of any ruling against her to all of her clients since 2010.

A woman who answered the phone at the office of Joyce Tax & Financial Service declined comment.