Moving to curb abuse of this year's one-time telephone excise tax refund program, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service have obtained federal indictments against tax preparers who allegedly filed thousands of dollars in fraudulent refund claims. In recent weeks, alleged refund schemes involving preparers in Florida, Georgia, Texas and California have led to federal indictments. Shortly after tax season opened in January, the IRS observed problems with returns from some tax preparers that indicated possible criminal intent. Along with search warrants carried out by the IRS, tax preparers across the nation who prepared questionable refund requests received visits from IRS revenue agents and special agents. "We saw limited but serious instances of abuse," said IRS acting commissioner Kevin M. Brown. "We used our enforcement resources to move swiftly and decisively to protect this valuable refund for the vast majority of taxpayers and tax preparers who are requesting it properly."

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