BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Revenue has released a statement regarding the Baton Rouge mother and son who were arrested and charged with a total of 40 felony counts of suspected fraud in their work as tax preparers.
Madie Langley, 81, and her son Darin Langley, are tax preparers at Matrix Computers and Tax Services.
"The Department of Revenue is committed to combating tax fraud. As we begin the tax season, these recent arrests emphasize the need for Louisiana taxpayers to choose carefully when selecting a tax preparer," Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said.
"Taxpayers should be aware that when they select someone to prepare their tax returns, they are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the information and any funds that the Department will seek to recover."
Darin Langley faces 24 counts of suspected fraud and was arrested on December 22, 2014. Madie Langley faces 16 counts of suspected fraud and was arrested on Monday, January 12, 2015.
The Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers to be selective when choosing a tax preparer. The following steps can help you protect yourself against tax-preparer fraud:
- Try to find a preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
- Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns.
- Review and ask questions before signing a return.
- Ask others that you know who have used that preparer if they were satisfied with the services that they received.
- Ask any preparer that you are considering for references.
- Ask and verify if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.
- Always question entries on your return that you don't understand.
- Never sign a blank return.
- Insist that the preparer sign the return and provide his appropriate information on the return.
- Insist on receiving a copy of the return before it is filed.
LDR will begin accepting 2014 Louisiana Individual Income Tax Returns on Tuesday, January 20. LDR will begin processing returns on February 3 and will start issuing refunds on February 24.