Monday, April 16, 2018

I'm Optimistic That Kent Hovind Has Turned The Corner On Tax Compliance

My biggest realistic hope for Kent Hovind after his release from prison was that he would become conventionally tax compliant - focus his energy on saving souls and exposing the "lies of evolution".  The first of those is benign and the latter is probably relatively harmless.

 My wildest dream was that he would realize/admit that his legal troubles were of his own making and that he would advise his flock to say away from the tax mishegas of the likes of Paul John Hansen and Glenn Stoll.  That was altogether unrealistic.

However his continued efforts in the area of tax mishegas seem to be limited to promoting what Bob Baty characterizes as his "false legal narrative"




This is quite different from the days of CSE 6 when he was promoting widespread income tax non-compliance.




and encouraging churches to avoid 501(c)(3) status.




Or posting notices to warn government officials about trespassing.

Ernie Land assured me that that the new structure for Kent's ministry would be conventionally tax compliant.  And we have the first public sign of that in the filing of Form 990 which was prepared by Britton Finch CPA (A real CPA holding Alabama Certificate 9331).  I'm thinking about giving him a call, but am waiting until tax season is over.  No promises.

I had a couple of nits to pick about the Form 990, but I have seen a lot worse.  So I think they are really trying.

I decided to try to interview someone on the CSE board and I struck gold with Bill Sardi.  When I asked about on the record, Bill insisted that everything he said was on the record.  I had trouble keeping up with him and am not a great note taker, but I believe that I captured the essence of what he had to say about his experience as CSE board member.


Bill Sardi is one of the six board members listed on the Form 990.  Bill Sardi is involved with health supplements and I note that there is some controversy around that, but I didn't and will not be getting into that.  I'll leave it for the comments section.  There are only so many rabbit holes I can go down.  He as on Alex Jones which I don't see as a great endorsement




At any rate, Bill started off giving me a version of the Hovindication rant about Kent Hovind being persecuted.  He was going on about the Obama administration enough that I had to remind him that Kent was prosecuted the first time during the Bush administration,  Bill doesn't think all that highly of Bush either.

A detail that I have never heard is the claim that there was at least one document signed by Lois Lerner in and among filings about Kent. I found this a little odd, because there did not seem to be anything related to Kent's case that would have called for attention from Lois Lerner unless you think her position at the IRS was roving Satanic minion (She was Director of Rulings and Agreements in the Exempt Organizations function and then was promoted to Director of Exempt Organizations).  The essence of the interminable scandal was about delays in processing applications for exempt status, something that pre-prison Kent Hovind would not have concerned himself with.  I was so intrigued by that claim that I reached out to Ernie Land about it.  Here is his response:

That was told by several family members. It was questioned at the time and lead to the many beliefs, Kent was a target because of his Ministry and creation debates. Kind of supports the beliefs Kent was targeted for those debates, as well as his speaking out about taxation. What I find even more interesting is the cost of their defenses and the lack of any real defense. I call it malfeasance. I have a anonymous source, who claims to be a retired CPA, who has made a FOIA request to be sure the CSE Trust did not ever apply or have a EIN#, which I am sure the facts will show it did not, and I originally helped open the bank accounts, so I am very certain none exist, but that person must be sure it is factual. And they tell me if I am factually correct that there are US codes making it illegal for an entity without a EIN# to even ask for a W-4 or issue 1099’s, which would have been a rock solid defense. So we shall see, and I have requested the study to verify the codes, so if you know which code they speak of, I would appreciate you sharing with me some wisdom.
I poked at the followup question a bit and concluded that the rule is that if you are required to file something that requires an EIN then you are required to apply for an EIN.

Regardless, there was something just a bit different about Bill's recounting of the Hovindication narrative.  He indicated that he believed that Kent was misled by his advisers. Kent actually believed that the things he was filing were going to work.  Bill believes that the IRS is kind of like the mafia and probably illegitimate, but does not see any point in fighting them.  This is the kind of reasonably sensible attitude that I got from Irwin Schiff's sons.

And this is what has me feeling optimistic about Kent's future.  Apparently he is holding himself accountable to a board that includes people who have a realistic view of how the world works regardless of unconventional view on some matters.  Bill assured me and I don't doubt him that the board has placed limits on what Kent is doing.

Bill indicated that Kent will probably get his roadside dinosaur.  On the other hand you will note that the 990 was prepared by a CPA not Brady Byrum.

I'm kicking myself for not taking better notes when I spoke with Bill, although some of the tidbits were more gossipy than newsworthy.  I'll try to do better in the future.

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Peter J Reilly CPA writes on taxes for forbes.com.