Washington (March 6, 2003) -- The Internal Revenue Service more than doubled the number of criminal investigations of tax return preparers in 2002, according to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. In fiscal year 2002, 254 investigations were initiated, compared to 116 the year before.

Return preparer fraud generally involves the preparation and filing of false income tax returns by preparers who claim inflated personal or business expenses, false deductions, unallowable credits or excessive exemptions on returns prepared for their clients. Abusive preparers may also manipulate income figures to obtain fraudulent tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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