Kent Hovind has been heavy on my mind lately and is in my daily prayers. When I wrote my first article about him, I was determined not to get into the “issues,” but I wanted to just relate our personal experiences with him, since he had such an impact on my children and me. However, my readers seemed determined to get into the tax issues, so I’ve been seemingly dragged along to explore these issues as well.
Unfortunately, this is one of those subjects that seems to be the more I study, the less I really know. I am sure that some of my readers will know far more about this subject than I do, so feel free to present (or correct) facts here. My purpose in today’s post, though, is to warn others to do your homework before you make a major financial decision.
As I was speaking to Jo Hovind before we left Pensacola recently, she observed, “Maybe we didn’t get the right advice.” Jo, I think you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head.
I could not understand why even the mention of the name, Glen Stoll, was such a hot button for the judge in Kent Hovind’s case, so I decided to check him out a bit. This information should put this case in a new light for some of us. Glen Stoll is the man that Kent Hovind has put in charge of his whole ministry.
The first thing I noticed about Glen Stoll is how he reaches out to Christians. Look at this initial application for his services and see how enticed you might be:
1) Who am I, with respect to my position and function in life? I am:
2) With whom or what are my loyalties aligned? I pledge allegiance to:
3) Under that pledge, what is the purpose of my mission? My duties and responsibilities are:
4) Therefore, what jurisdictional authority am I under? My commission comes from:
5) How are decisions made that direct the course of my life? I trust in:
After you make this Declaration of Status, which Glen Stoll calls a Profession of Faith expressed in a political sense, you have now identified your personal ministry. So far, so good. How many Christians truly desire to have a personal ministry? But now, Glen Stoll has made it possible for any person who claims Christ and owns any business to label their business as a ministry. How convenient. We will see that Glen Stoll’s definitions of words are often of a non-standard usage, even though he will use the dictionary to define them. Now all you need is one or more people (your spouse will do) to form a “lawfully established unincorporated association of pure trust,” and when put in writing, this trust agreement becomes “evidence of a Ministerial Trust under which you may manage your personal ministry for the church.” In fact, this written declaration now makes you a church! Did you know that it was this easy to become a church, with all the tax-exempt privileges bequeathed to a church as well? That is, as soon as you meet all the other requirements that Glen Stoll will be glad to handle for you for a princely sum of money.
The following steps were not as easy to determine, since they are not directly listed on Remedies at Law, Glen Stoll’s website. However, the United States District Court has done their best in laying out their case against Glen Stoll and his “ministry” in their Order for Default Judgment and Permanent Injunction against Glen Stoll, dated June 27, 2005. Much of the following information is taken from the official injunction order against him. (Glen Stoll was sued by the United States of America for his fraudulent business practices and since he refused to show up in court, a default judgment against him was handed down, along with a permanent injunction to stop his illegal activities. I am still trying to figure out why he has not been stopped yet.)
Glen Stoll strongly tends to take Scripture out of context in order to justify his positions. For instance, in stating that we are not citizens of this world, but citizens of heaven, he advocates that the government should have no control over us, especially regarding documents such as passports; driver’s license; vehicle license plate, title, or registration; birth certificates and marriage registration; a business license; or a student body card; all of which can be handled through a sister site, Embassy of Heaven and through their other site which teach you how to be a citizen of heaven rather than of the United States. These two sites alone should provide plenty of controversial topics to keep us going for weeks, but we won’t cover them here. They are important to understanding both Glen Stoll’s and, subsequently, Kent Hovind’s, intentions, though. After severing all ties to the government, which includes being up to date with what you owe the IRS, and getting your “Citizen of Heaven” identification card, you are now ready to go on to the next step.
Glen Stoll helps “churches” (see his definition above) to become a corporation sole, which is usually a church that has one single (sole) officer and can be used to allow a church to hold title to property, but in these cases, the corporation sole is essentially designed to hide income and/or assets and designed to evade income taxes. Glen Stoll teaches that as a corporation sole, they don’t have to file or pay taxes, citing a mandatory exception to the IRC 508(c)(1)(A) for churches, even going so far as to claim that they are not even required to notify the IRS of their existence, nor are they authorized to collect or pay taxes to the government. However, like real churches, Glen Stoll advises his customers that all donations to their “church” is tax deductible.
Next, Glen Stoll helps people set up “Ministerial Trusts” in conjunction with their corporation sole. Because the two are connected, Glen Stoll teaches his clients that they are now exempt from the IRS laws, helping them to stop paying income and employment taxes. Each different “missionary” activity needs to have a separate ministerial trust set up, for which Glen Stoll charges $4000 - $4500 for the first trust and $2000 for each subsequent trust, and each of which is to be managed by the corporation sole. Customers of these former businesses (pest control, carpet cleaning, computer technology, and multi-level marketing, etc.), which are now called churches, are asked to make checks out to the ministerial trust rather than to the individual so that they don’t have to report it as income.
Workshops ($120 each?) are also required in order to be one of Glen Stoll’s clients and he then charges $120 per hour for his services. These are reasonable prices for the services offered, but you ought to beware that you are paying him to learn how to break the law.
Part of this scheme involves concealing property, income and profits. By placing both business and personal property in the name of the ministerial trust rather than an individual’s name, Glen Stoll tells his clients that the IRS cannot touch their assets. Unfortunately, that is simply not true, as Kent Hovind has since found out, but still refuses to acknowledge. Glen Stoll encourages people to transfer all their assets, including personal property and furniture and cash into these ministerial accounts, thereby allowing them to claim that they themselves own nothing, but that they live in a parsonage (their former personal home) and use the “church’s” furniture (their former personal furniture) and equipment and vehicles (their former personal car). Nothing really changes in their lifestyle, however, except that they probably have more disposable income now that they don’t pay taxes on everything. I wondered how Kent Hovind could take a vow of poverty and yet have so many belongings. He doesn’t consider himself to own anything, per se, but everything belongs to the “church.” Unfortunately, Glen Stoll’s definition of church is not God’s definition, nor is it our government’s definition.
Another aspect of Glen Stoll’s scheme is to call all employees independent contractors and telling clients that they now no longer have to file W-2s or 1099s since they are not authorized to withhold taxes for the government anyway since they are now citizens of heaven. This is one of the biggies for Kent Hovind.
Glen Stoll even goes so far as to teach his clients how to use IRS forms that are designed for non-US citizens in order to receive income not subject to tax withholding, stating that a church ministry is a “non-U.S. person based on its
foreign Federal political status,” and as such, is exempt from banking regulations. Even so, Glen Stoll requires that his customers contact him if they need to make a withdrawal of $10,000 or more in cash.
If I didn’t read the name of the actual bank, I would have a really hard time believing this, but Glen Stoll also recommends that his customers put their cash into offshore bank accounts located at Liberty International Bank & Trust, Caribbean Processing Center, essentially hiding the money from the US government. They are then set up with Visa cards to be able to access the funds. I do not know if Kent Hovind did this or not.
Glen Stoll claims that he is qualified to do what he is doing because he is a lawyer. Since he considers himself a citizen of heaven, however, his definition of “lawyer” is also a bit odd: one who practices law. Never mind that he doesn’t actually have any degrees or a license to practice law. Glen Stoll takes great liberty with his definitions, most of which come from England several hundred years ago. I’m all for self-study, but it is quite deceptive to use a term that the average person would understand to mean fully licensed.
While some of Glen Stoll’s clients have legitimate ministries, such as Kent Hovind’s, many of these people had regular for-profit businesses to begin with, but now they just don’t have to pay taxes – at least until the IRS catches up with them. The amount of taxes lost to the US government because of these scams is quite substantial and Glen Stoll should be held directly accountable, along with all his “clients.” It is quite sad for me to admit that Kent Hovind falls in this category.
Glen Stoll was issued a default judgment (guilty by reason of not showing up for the trial) and was permanently enjoined from continuing this illegal business, this exact kind of business in which he continues with Kent Hovind. He was also given 11 days from June 27, 2005 to provide the court with a complete list of clients, corporations sole, and ministerial trusts, and a list of all employees and associates. He was also required to post a complete copy of the injunction order against him on his website for one year and to give a copy to each former, current, and prospective client. He was required to file a sworn certificate of compliance with these measures within 12 days, including printed pages of his complete website.
It appears that since this injunction is still up on his website, that Glen Stoll has at least complied with one aspect. As for the others, you can read all his excuses for why he could not comply with the requirements of the US government. What I don’t understand is why Glen Stoll is still continuing in his illegal schemes he perpetrates upon gullible but well-meaning Christians.
What I really don’t understand is how Kent Hovind, a highly intelligent man, fell for this, and apparently, still entrusts his life’s work to this man. Kent, your wife was right: you did get some wrong advice, and that’s putting it mildly. This was a really big mistake. Please learn from it.
The Bible tells us to avoid all appearances of evil. This scam has every appearance of evil to me. Run, Kent! Flee from this man!
Did Kent have any other choices that would still allow him to stand on his convictions? I think so. Maybe I’ll cover that next time.
For a good summary of this scam: IRS Warns of “Corporation Sole” Tax Scam
For Christians: Corporation Sole Problems
More info on Glen Stoll: