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Tax preparer charged with failing to file his own returns

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A professional tax preparer in Aitkin, Minn., has been charged with not filing his own tax returns, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Todd William Sterling, 44, of Aitkin Tax Service Inc., did 2,400 income tax returns for clients between 2005 and 2009, but he was charged in State District Court with failing to file his own in 2006, 2008 and 2009, the newspaper reports.

Each of the three charges carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Sterling was the target of a Minnesota Department of Revenue probe, the News Tribune reports. Investigators say Sterling avoided paying at least $5,383 in Minnesota income tax. Sterling told investigators he had prepared tax returns for 20 years and understood the filing requirements, the News Tribune reported.

A message left at Aitkin Tax Service on Wednesday was not returned, and Sterling's lawyer declined comment, the newspaper reported. He's next due in court July 8.

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