IRS

IRS places lien against Rep. Matthew Hill for unpaid taxes

Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) checks his phone during a House Republican Caucus meeting in Nashville on Jan. 14, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The IRS has filed a lien against state Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) for failing to pay $19,042 in federal taxes over two years, WCYB-TV reports.

Hill had an unpaid balance of about $14,700 in 2018 and $4,300 in 2016, according to IRS documents filed on Jan. 2.

“After recently receiving notice of the tax amount variance referenced for the years in question, I am taking corrective action to resolve this issue and will pay all taxes owed,” Hill told the station in a statement.

Hill was a top ally of former House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin), where he was purported to preside over “kill lists” for disfavored legislation, and mounted an unsuccessful bid for the speakership last summer.

Hill previously rejected as “stupid” a WCYB report that Washington County developers donated $45,000 to support the speaker’s bid after he supported legislation to establish a tax incentive retail district for their  proposed Boones Creek retail center.

Don Spurrell, an attorney considering legal action to block the creation of the district, said the tax deal had the appearance of “pay-for-play.”

Hill was dismissive of those claims.

“That’s an absurd allegation and is just stupid,” Hill said.

The Tennessean reported last summer that Hill operated a Christian-themed magic supply business, but that he hadn’t registered it with the state or in his statements of interest. Washington County officials later said Hill was required to secure a proper business license for the company.

The Tennessean also reported Hill had nearly lost his house to foreclosure in 2017, but that he avoided that losing the home when he came up with the money in the last minute. Hill, the part owner of a political robocall company, declined to say where he got the money.

Hill first drew attention to a secretive local grant fund last year when he announced that a local nonprofit would be receiving more state money than expected. That came as a surprise to other Northeast Tennessee lawmakers and Gov. Bill Lee’s administration. The governor ultimately froze $4 million pool over what he called misunderstandings about the purpose of the money. Critics quickly labeled the money as supporting pork for lawmakers who supported Lee’s school voucher program.