Clayton Agena is hoping to use his 29 years of experience as a personal financial planner to help Hawaii taxpayers through his work on the IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Panel.

Hawaii taxpayers
have a new friend
with IRS connections

Clayton E. Agena

>> Day job: Financial services advisor
>> Company: Clayton E. Agena & Associates
>> New post: Hawaii representative to the Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Advocacy Panel
>> Term: Two years
>> TAP defined: The panel comprises representatives from each state who listen to taxpayers, identify issues and make suggestions for improving IRS service and customer satisfaction.

Have you always had your own practice? I worked for Manual Life Financial for about nine years. I've been on my own about 20 years. Most of the products that I use still go through Manual Life Financial. The type of work that I do is geared toward small business owners and the elderly, estate planning. Manual Life Financial's products are geared the same way.

How did you wind up on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel? I went through the application process about a year ago. When I first read about it, it was probably in the Star-Bulletin. I thought I'd apply because a lot of the work I do is with tax planning. When I got the application, it was real long. When I looked at it I said "Oh wow." It was pages. I almost gave up right there. They called me about three months ago and said they had mainland folks here for an interview. I talked to them, I got finger printed, they said they had to do an FBI background check. With my military background, I wasn't too concerned about that. I had to go through a background check as an Army officer. It wasn't until three or four weeks ago that they called to tell me I was selected. I was surprised to hear from them.

Are you looking forward to it? Yes I'm curious. I'm honored. I'm just looking forward to seeing what I can do. I'm pretty new at this, so I don't really know what I'm getting into yet, but hopefully I can do something for the Hawaii taxpayers.

What are your goals as a panel member? Hopefully people will come to us with problems and the panel, if we cannot solve the problem, we can go to the person in the IRS who can solve it.

The IRS is widely feared and hated. Do you think that's fair? I don't know about fair, but I think it's true. People would rather pay their taxes and be late on their mortgage payment. They'd rather lose their home than deal with the IRS. There are things that could be changed in terms of how the IRS deals with the public. Someone calls and says "I'm from the IRS and I'm here to help you." and the response is "Yeah, right." Hopefully I can help change that.

What do you think of the idea of a flat tax? I think the flat tax, if you look at it from the perspective of the population as a whole, it's very fair. It's very simple. You wouldn't need the IRS, you would just need an enforcement agency, that's it. There's no need to calculate anything. For the middle and high-income people, it makes sense. I don't know if it would be fair for those with a lower income.

Inside Hawaii Inc. is a conversation with a member of the Hawaii business community who has changed jobs, been elected to a board or been recognized for accomplishments. Send questions and comments to

E-mail to Business Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --