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The Grassroots Corner September 25, 2020

The Grassroots Corner September 25, 2020
Photo Credit: Jim Bennett 2020 by Jim Bennett is licensed under

MEET RETIRED IRS AGENT AND FAIRTAX-ER TODD HILGEFORT

We have a staunch FAIRtax-er in Ohio who retired from the IRS in 2003. Todd Hilgefort started his twenty-seven years with the IRS in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1975. Todd graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Accounting.

After a training period, Todd began his first assignment in Exempt Organizations. An Exempt Organization does not pay income tax, and contributions to certain kinds of Exempt Organizations are tax-deductible to their donors (AFFT is not one of them).

Most people are familiar with 501(c)(3) entities such as those organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, educational, and other specified purposes, or 501(c)(4) entities like social welfare organizations, civic leagues or certain local associations of employees.  While these are the most well-known, there are numerous other entities that qualify as Exempt Organizations under the Internal Revenue Code sections 501(c)(1) through 501(c)(28).

Todd reviewed and approved applications for a couple of years.  Then, for eight more years, he did on-site compliance audits.  Sometimes these audits resulted in revocation of an organization’s exempt status and/or taxes and penalties.

After Todd left the Exempt Organizations Unit, the IRS picked Cincinnati as the national center for reviewing Exempt Organizations. You may recall that Lois Lerner joined that office in 2005. Lerner became the central figure in a 2013 IRS targeting controversy. She allegedly slow-walked applications for exempt status by conservative groups so that these groups could not effectively take part in the 2012 Presidential election. Ms. Lerner was eventually forced to resign over the controversy.

After ten years in Exempt Organizations, Todd transferred to the Employee Plans unit in 1985. In 1974, Congress had passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”).  This new law addressed abuses that had been taking place in private pension plans. ERISA enforcement was carried out by three Federal bodies, the Department of Labor, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and the IRS.

Following some more training, Todd reviewed and approved plans seeking qualified status. This primarily included pension and other retirement plans such as 401(k), Employee Stock Ownership Plans and some other less common plans. Many of these plans were 100-200 pages long.

Todd then went out in the field on Retirement Plan examinations and compliance audits. He spent seventeen years in the Employee Plans Unit retiring in 2003.

Todd was impressed with the caliber of the people he worked with when he joined the IRS in 1975. Many held pertinent degrees in law and accounting, and had master's degrees or CPA Certificates. They had to interpret and apply numerous complex statutes, regulations, and revenue rulings, but they handled their mission well.

Todd does not have the same regard for those in the Cincinnati IRS office today. For political reasons, standards declined. Today’s managers and IRS agents often have degrees in non-germane areas, or are just high school graduates with 15 additional credit hours in accounting. Todd believes that lack of employee experience and training at non-managerial levels enabled people like Lois Lerner. Lerner set the tone, and everyone working under her just blindly went along with whatever she wanted, not really understanding that what she was doing was wrong.

While still at the IRS, Todd became interested in the FAIRtax. He says it was not just one thing that got his attention. As an IRS agent, he knew just how ridiculous and complicated our income tax system is.  As he went through the material on the FAIRtax website, (fairtax.org). He discovered that the more he learned about the FAIRtax, the more convinced he became that the FAIRtax was the answer. The FAIRtax is merely common sense.

Todd agrees with an assertion that Neal Boortz often made—that the FAIRtax would be the greatest transfer of power from the government back to the people ever.  It would do more to stimulate the American economy and create American jobs than any other piece of legislation in history.  It would truly make taxes fair again.

Take a former IRS agent’s advice.  Go to fairtax.org and thoroughly educate yourself about the FAIRtax.  Then open up the “Get Involved” section and join the fight to replace the corrupt income tax system with the FAIRtax.  Just a little bit of help from a lot of people can make the FAIRtax happen.

Todd points out that there are a lot of retired IRS employees out there who can help. Imagine an entire army of retired IRS employees spreading the FAIRtax message to their fellow retirees and then rising up to demand that their former employer be put out of business.  And don’t be fooled.  The FAIRtax is the only tax reform plan that gets rid of the IRS for good.

As a retired IRS Agent, Todd believes that only a corrupt or uninformed politician would refuse to support the FAIRtax.  We have way too many such career politicians in office now. We, our children and our grandchildren all deserve better.

We are happy to have Todd on board as an activist in Cincinnati.

Are any of you reading this Grassroots Corner former IRS employees with stories to tell?  If so, I’d love to hear your story.  Send it to me at jim.bennett@fairtax.org.



Yours In the FAIRtax Movement!

Jim Bennett
AFFT Grassroots Coordinator & Secretary

 

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