According to a March 8 IRS press release, Lorna M. Walker, an enrolled agent, has been banned from tax preparation by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for a period of at least five years. OPR is an agency under the IRS that oversees the tax preparer community.
Walker’s enrolled agent status was also rescinded.
“Practitioners who disregard their responsibilities to the tax system and their clients can expect to hear from OPR," said Karen L. Hawkins, director of OPR. "Any tax professional who steals from a client or causes them undue tax problems is unfit to practice before this agency."
Walker was found guilty of misappropriating her client’s payments that were intended to be sent to the IRS. Walker filed multiple Offers in Compromise for her clients, an IRS sponsored program where a taxpayer can settle tax debt for a lower amount. Walker kept payments that were intended for her client’s offers.
Walker also showed multiple Schedule C business losses with bloated and fictional expenses. When asked under audit to produce substantiation to validate claimed expenses, Walker came up empty.
The ruling comes at a time when millions of taxpayers turn to professionals for the preparation of their 2012 tax returns. The IRS reminds taxpayers to watch for these suspicious signs. If you have a complaint against your preparer, report it on Form 14157, Complaint - Tax Return Preparer.