Mississippi tax return preparer pleads guilty

A former Gulfport, Miss., tax return preparer pleaded guilty Friday to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, according to U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to documents and information provided to the court, Alvin Mays owned and operated City Tax Service, a tax return preparation business in the Gulfport area. From 2012 through 2017, Mays prepared and trained his employees to prepare false tax returns.

Among the claims of wrongdoing were fraudulently inflating client refunds, claiming false education credits and losses from fictitious businesses.

Mays charged his clients exorbitant preparation fees, sometimes as high as $1,600 per return. In total, the government says Mays’ conduct caused a tax loss to the United States of more than $900,000.

Mays will be sentenced Apr. 16, 2020. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison on each count, as well as a period of supervised release and monetary penalties. In his plea agreement, Mays agreed to pay restitution of $321,605 to the United States.