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State authorities shut down tax preparer accused of misconduct

A Medford woman accused of fraudulent tax preparation has agreed to never prepare taxes again in Oregon.

Tirsa G. Villanueva, also known as Tirsa Fong-Guien, settled with the Oregon State Board of Tax Practitioners, agreeing on March 8 to leave the tax preparation business in Oregon. She also was fined $25,000, the board reported.

She had her own tax preparation business and for a time worked for Liberty Tax Service.

Investigation by the board that regulates professionals who prepare taxes, Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Department of Revenue found problems with Villanueva's work dating back to 2006, when the Board of Tax Practitioners received complaints about her.

She was found to have prepared returns without required supervision, failed to register her business and advertised her services without meeting state requirements for tax preparers. She also claimed improper deductions and credits resulting in the loss of more than $155,000 tax revenue for the state and interest and penalties for her clients when her errors were discovered through audits, board documents show.

On Sept. 29, 2006, the board issued a civil penalty of $2,400 against Villanueva for preparing 12 returns without the supervision of a tax consultant.

The Oregon Department of Revenue audited 183 of more than 1,500 returns Villanueva prepared for 2008. The auditors concluded that more than 80 percent of the audited returns had errors, resulting in roughly $155,000 in additional taxes collected as well as interest and penalties imposed on the unsuspecting taxpayers, officials said.

Tax board documents show that Villanueva engaged in "negligent conduct that was detrimental to her clients when she claimed inappropriate deductions, credits, dependents or inaccurate states of residency."

On Jan. 25, 2012, Villanueva was indicted by a Jackson County grand jury on 18 class C felony charges, including tax evasion, identity theft, first-degree theft and unlawful use of a computer, related to her preparations of returns in the 2008 tax year.

The criminal charges were ultimately dismissed on Oct. 12, 2012, but the Board of Tax Practitioners pursued the case civilly, resulting in the settlement reached this month, officials explained.

— Mandy Valencia