Peter J Reilly writes on tax and corporate issues for Forbes and other publications, where this item was published first.
Sometimes the title of the case makes it just irresistible to me – like UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. NANCY D. BERRYMAN; THE TEMPLE OF THE UNVEILED GOD; THE OFFICE OF THE OVERSEER OF DEDICATION TO ENLIGHTENMENT; and HER SUCCESSORS, A CORPORATION SOLE.
The case itself might not be that interesting, a bit on the lawyerly side actually, but I really would like to know more about the “unveiled god” and what the overseer is doing by way of enlightenment. I’m sorry to say that I am going to mark the search for the Temple of the Unveiled God down on the list of abandoned quests. I had quite a few of those when I was playing World of Warcraft
Still the case is just a bit interesting.
The concept of corporation sole has a valid application, but it is rather limited. The idea is to vest title to property in the hands of the holder of an office. Title to much of the property owned by the Catholic Church will be in the form of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of __________, A Corporation Sole. In order for corporation sole to be meaningful, there has to be a religious body that can appoint and dismiss the office holder. If you ordain yourself and elect yourself pope and then form a corporation sole that you put all your stuff into – well.
It seems like a lot of fun, but it really doesn’t accomplish anything. Here is the short version of the IRS warning on the matter:
A legitimate corporation sole is designed to ensure continuity of ownership of property dedicated to the benefit of a legitimate religious organization. A taxpayer cannot use a corporation sole created to avoid or evade income taxes as a means to exclude the taxpayer’s personal income from tax.
There is a concept that my blogging buddy, Joe Kristan, calls the Tax Fairy – “the magical sprite that can make your taxes go away with fancy tax footwork”. Corporation Sole has been a Tax Fairy wannabee for a while. Among those who fell under her siren spell was Kent Hovind, Doctor Dino, who, in some circles, is the most beloved Federal inmate currently behind bars.
The God Remains Veiled
The Office of the Overseer is a Nevada Corporation and the Temple is a Utah Corporation. The Overseer’s registered agent is Trioid International Group. Apparently somebody thinks Trioid is being picked on. There is a petition on Change.org concerning Trioid
U.S. Inspector General: Stop the unwarranted abuse by IRS CID Agents
For 7 years the IRS CID agents have manipulated court procedures, denied due process, and harassed myself, my family, and my clients because I deal with non-profit entities as a Registered Agent. I have been denied the right to work, to travel, and to speak to my clients.
If you are one of those people who likes to get in on things early you should know that as I write this the opportunity to be the first signer still exists.
The Geneva Institute recommends Trioid to Tax Fairy believers who want to try Corporation Sole and see how it works for them. There is that thing about IRS CID agents being all over them, though. By all accounts IRS CID agents are really top-notch people. I regret not at all that my professional contact with them has been at an absolute minimum.
Even Gods Need To Show Up
Nancy Berryman apparently owes a bit of money to the IRS. The were seeking to foreclose on some real property which was titled to the Overseer. She wanted to represent herself, the Temple and the Overseer. The Court said no dice:
I affirmed Magistrate Judge Mix’s ruling that Defendant Berryman may only represent herself in this proceeding, and may not represent Defendants Temple and Overseer. I further ordered that both Defendants Temple and Overseer are separate entities that require an attorney to represent their interests in this action. “While Defendant Berryman may be the corporation sole representative, the interests of a corporation and its principal frequently overlap but are not identical in all respects. Thus, requiring separate counsel for a corporation works as an independent safeguard of its interests.”
The Court concluded that the property in question, in effect belonged to Ms. Berryman and was subject to seizure to pay her tax debts. It upheld the IRS computations of tax for most of the years in question, but required them to do a little more work on 1997 and 2000.
My advice is that unless you are an actual archbishop or something like that, you should think before you try corporation sole. Then think again. Then forget about it.
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