Preparing your taxes? Double check returns before signing during tax season

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A warning to anyone getting your taxes done.

Once you sign your tax return, you're responsible for it. This comes on the heels of a tax preparer creating fraudulent returns for dozens of clients.

Yomi John of Postal and Tax Services on Veterans Memorial will spend the next year behind bars for inflating income tax returns. Court records say, "John included materially false income, expenses, deductions, and credits in these tax returns in order to generate at least $214,413 in excess refunds."

The US Attorney's Office said it impacted 61 clients' returns. They said the clients didn't know what John had done but anytime you sign a return, even if you don't know it's fraudulent you could still be responsible.

In fact, the US Attorney's Office said each taxpayer who receives an inflated refund is personally responsible for the repayment of any refund they were not entitled to, plus penalties and interest, if they are audited.

"Every time you sign that tax return, you're swearing to the US government that this is an accurate representation of your income and expenses so if you go in and say, 'Oh I didn't know what the tax preparer was doing,' doesn't matter. You signed it," said Douglas Hord of My Tax Guy.

Hord said this scheme happens all too often.

"This is not new behavior. This is something that goes on all the time. I'd say no less than every three weeks or so a tax preparer gets busted for either filing fake tax returns or inflating expenses," said Hord.

Hord says he hopes this can be a lesson learned. Always check your return carefully before you sign the dotted line.

"Most people focus on the size of the refund but it's the accuracy of the return that you're swearing to," said Hord.

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.