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Federal Court Permanently Enjoins Tax Return Preparer in Florida

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has permanently enjoined a Miami-based tax return preparer from preparing returns for others and from owning, managing, or working at any tax return preparation business in the future.

The court entered judgment against Arnold Zio after he failed to respond to the government’s suit. The terms of the order require that Zio, individually and doing business as Platinum Citizens Financial, LLC and FTP Tax Services, send notices of the injunction to each person for whom he prepared federal tax returns after January 1, 2016, and post the injunction in places where he conducts business, including social media accounts and websites. The order also provides that the United States may monitor Zio’s compliance with the injunction.

The civil complaint filed against Zio alleged that he prepared tax returns claiming fabricated business income and expenses, as well as claiming various false tax deductions, including charitable contributions. It also alleged that Zio, without authorization, diverted customer refunds into his own bank account and failed to return COVID-19 stimulus funds that were improperly deposited into his account. According to the civil complaint, Zio claimed over $850,000 in falsified or inflated deductions on his customers’ tax returns, claimed at least $545,000 in falsified or inflated business losses, and diverted at least $188,000 from his customers’ refunds into his own bank account.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.

Taxpayers seeking a return preparer should remain vigilant against unscrupulous tax preparers. The IRS has information on its website for choosing a tax return preparer and has launched a free directory of federal tax preparers. The IRS also offers 10 tips to avoid tax season fraud and ways to safeguard their personal information.

In the past decade, the Department of Justice Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers.  Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s website. An alphabetical listing of persons enjoined from preparing returns and promoting tax schemes can be found on this page. If you believe that one of the enjoined persons or businesses may be violating an injunction, please contact the Tax Division with details.

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