The Justice Department has sued a tax preparer from Charlotte, N.C., to prevent him from preparing federal tax returns for others, alleging that he abused the federal fuel tax credits.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, alleged that Kodjovi Raphael Totou, operator of Queen City Tax Services, included a claim for the federal fuel tax credit on every tax return he prepared for the 2003 tax year, even though eligibility for the credit is typically limited.

The complaint alleged that Totou claimed credits for "absurdly large amounts" of gasoline. On one client's 2005 tax return, he allegedly reported that the customer drove 61,807 miles for his business, but claimed a gasoline fuel tax for 25,110 gallons. In order for the numbers to be consistent, the automobile would only have achieved 2.5 miles per gallon. He also allegedly claimed fuel tax credit for 23,635 gallons of fuel on another client's return, which at $2 per gallon would have cost 67 times the customer's reported income. Totou and Queen City Tax Services could not be reached for comment.

The DOJ complaint said that Totou holds no business or professional license, and his only background in tax preparation is a three-hour course at H&R Block. Many of his customers were immigrants from Togo with little understanding of U.S. tax law, according to the complaint.

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