My chronicle of how the IRS and Tax Court affect taxpayers' daily lives.

See below for important disclosures.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Expert Witness works against a Tax Preparer

Thomas Turner falsely represented himself to his customers, stating that he was formerly employed by the IRS, and implying that he understood tax laws and regulations because of his special relationship with the IRS.

During the trial, an actual IRS agent took the stand to educate the jury on the tax consequences of Mr. Turner's overstatements, but Mr. Turner objected, stating that the agent did not qualify as an expert.

Aside from filing bogus returns on behalf of his clients, Mr. Turner also was a non-filer of his own returns due to disagreements over his 1989 tax return. His statement that he wanted to "screw the IRS" made it into the record.

Mr. Turner's comments that "he hated the IRS and that the IRS wouldn't get a dime from him," weighed heavily against him, as he was unable to prove that he could separate this attitude from his personal dealings, instead of when he was preparing returns from others.

Aaron's Take:  If you are in the business of preparing returns, it is best not to share your opinion of the IRS, especially if that opinion is similar to those of tax protestors. Mr. Turner's desire to screw the IRS could easily have been extended to the returns that he prepared, making him liable for preparing false returns. Additionally, if you are going to market yourself as an "expert" because you are a former IRS employee, you cannot then turn around and state that the IRS Agent that is testifying against you is NOT an expert.  

USA v. Thomas A. Turner, USDC, W.D. Kentucky 2009-2 USTC

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Aaron Blau, E.A. is the Vice President of the Central Arizona Chapter of Enrolled Agents and a member of the Government Relations Committee of the National Association of Enrolled Agents. The opinions and ideas expressed here are in no way representative of the official position of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, Arizona Society of Enrolled Agents or the Central Arizona Chapter of Enrolled Agents.

For official comments, please e-mail NAEA Director of Communications at or Arizona Society president

"To ensure compliance with the requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that, to the extent this communication (or any attachment) addresses any tax matter, it was not written to be (and may not be) relied upon to (i) avoid tax-related penalties imposed under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promote, market or recommend to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein (or in any such attachment). In addition, nothing herein is intended to convey an expression of an opinion as to the likelihood a tax position would ultimately prevail if challenged by the IRS. This communication is intended solely for the person to whom it is addressed; no one else should rely on the tax advice provided herein. The person to whom this advice is addressed is under no obligation to keep the advice or matters related to the advice confidential."