Jackson Hewitt Franchises Shut Down For Tax Fraud
A great day for H&R Block:
The government said Tuesday it is trying to shut down more than 125 Jackson Hewitt tax preparation stores in four states for systematic “tax-fraud schemes.” The Justice Department accuses the franchises of bilking the government out of more than $70 million through fraudulent practices such as using phony W-2 forms, bogus deductions and fuel tax credits and false claims regarding the earned income tax credit.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Services Inc. is the nation’s second largest tax preparer. The franchises were either totally or partially owned by Farrukh Sohail, the Justice Department said, and involved “a pervasive and massive series of tax-fraud schemes,” according to court filings.
It should be emphasized that these are franchised stores owned by a single proprietor; Jackson Hewitt is not being accused of wrongdoing as a company. Still, this is most embarrassing and yet another sign that you probably shouldn’t be paying amateurs to prepare your taxes.
I await columns and blog posts noting that “Farrukh Sohail” sounds suspiciously Middle Eastern and wondering whether this is an Islamofascist jihad against the tax system. (I’ll keep an eye out on Technorati.)