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News Releases

Tax preparer charged with fraud for falsifying clients’ tax returns...Continue Reading

 

BATON ROUGE – A Louisiana tax preparer faces felony charges for a fraud scheme that cost taxpayers an estimated $300,000.

 

Melissa Cato (Booking Photo), of Gibsland, allegedly altered clients’ state income tax returns to claim fabricated losses for businesses that did not exist.

 

Tax auditors with the Louisiana Department of Revenue noticed a suspicious pattern with hundreds of returns Cato filed in the tax years 2012 through 2015. Investigators determined that many of the clients had never owned or operated businesses, and had not claimed any business losses when they provided Cato with their tax records.

 

Cato was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Wednesday, February 22 on charges of Principal to Filing or Maintaining False Public Records and Principal to Illegal Transmission of Monetary Funds. She is the 66th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

 

 

State tax filing & payment extensions available for tornado-affected areas...Continue Reading

 

BATON ROUGE – Tax relief is available to Louisiana taxpayers affected by severe storms and tornadoes that struck the state on February 7, 2017. The Louisiana Department of Revenue is offering filing and payment extensions to residents whose homes, critical tax records or principal places of business are located in the following ZIP codes in Livingston and Orleans parishes:

 

Parish

ZIP Code

 

Livingston

70447

70454

70462

70706

70785

 

Orleans

70126

70127

70128

70129

 

Additional areas declared federal disaster areas due to the severe weather on February 7, 2017, will be considered for the same relief.

 

For tax returns and payments submitted by the extended deadlines, the Department of Revenue will waive any late filing penalties, late payment penalties and interest that would otherwise apply. Any return or amount on which penalty or interest began accruing before February 7, 2017, is not eligible for this relief.

 

Sales, Severance and Excise

 

The extended deadline is May 15, 2017, for sales, severance and excise taxes with original or extended due dates on or after February 7, 2017, and on or before April 30, 2017.

 

Withholding

 

The extended deadline is May 31, 2017, for withholding returns due on or before April 30, 2017; and for withholding payments due on or after February 15, 2017, and on or before May 15, 2017.

 

Individual Income and Corporate Income & Franchise

 

The extended filing deadline is June 30, 2017, for taxpayers with original or extended due dates on or after February 7, 2017, or on or before June 30, 2017.

 

The extended payment deadline is June 30, 2017, for taxpayers with original due dates on or after February 7, 2017, or on or before June 30, 2017. However, taxpayers under an existing agreement with the Department of Revenue to pay taxes due are not eligible for an additional extension to pay.

 

Read Revenue Information Bulletin 17-007 for more information, including a complete list of taxes and due dates eligible for this relief.

 

 

Tax preparer faces felony charges for “ghost business” tax fraud scheme...Continue Reading

 

BATON ROUGE – A St. James Parish tax preparer faces felony charges for allegedly fabricating business losses for companies that did not exist.

 

Warren Lavern Bryant (Booking Photo), of Lutcher, is accused of submitting state income tax returns that included phony business losses, which improperly reduced his clients’ taxable income, resulting in illegally inflated tax refunds.

 

Tax auditors with the Louisiana Department of Revenue noticed a suspicious pattern with returns that Bryant submitted in 2015. Investigators determined that none of the clients whose returns they examined had claimed any business losses when they provided Bryant with their tax records. In fact, not one of them had ever owned or operated a business.

 

Fabricated losses are used frequently by unscrupulous tax preparers who try to increase their business by promising larger-than-expected refunds.

 

Bryant’s alleged fraud scheme cost Louisiana taxpayers an estimated $116,325.00. He was arrested on Tuesday, February 7 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of Principal to Filing or Maintaining False Public Records and Principal to Illegal Transmission of Monetary Funds.

 

Warren Bryant is the 65th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

 

 

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