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Murphy Funeral Homes

1102 West Broad Street, Falls Church, VA

OBITUARY

Christopher Edward Bergin

February 12, 1952November 22, 2017
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Christopher E. Bergin, 65, former president and publisher of Tax Analysts and a longtime advocate for greater transparency in taxation, died suddenly Wednesday, November 22, 2017 following complications from an earlier surgery.

Bergin’s time at Tax Analysts began in 1991 as editor of Tax Notes. A decade later, he took the helm of the organization, serving as president and publisher for 16 years. Previously, Bergin was managing editor at Prentice Hall.

A tireless advocate for transparency, in his own words, Bergin wrote that his “passion here is to see that every citizen gets equal and fair treatment in paying taxes.” To that end, Bergin was never reluctant to seek legal means to compel government agencies to release information and shed light on how the Internal Revenue Service performed its duties. “He had a low tolerance for BS and could get morally outraged for all the right reasons,” recalled Cornish F. Hitchcock of Hitchcock Law Firm PLLC.

Martin A. Sullivan agreed, describing Bergin as a “tenacious advocate for the public’s right to know.” “He spoke truth to power — with a Jersey accent,” Sullivan added. With Hitchcock’s help, Bergin oversaw Tax Analysts’ lawsuit against the IRS that forced it to rescind the “two-hour rule,” an agency ruling that said any guidance that took less than two hours to prepare did not have to be public. Bergin also oversaw a lawsuit against the IRS regarding the alleged targeting of conservative exempt organizations, which resulted in the IRS turning over training materials used by its employees for determining exempt status.

Hitchcock said that Bergin was also “very interested in pioneering transparency at the state level,” citing lawsuits filed by Tax Analysts in various states in recent years. “Some people sit on the sidelines and watch things happen. Chris was never a spectator; he made things happen,” said Pamela Olson of PwC, and a member of Tax Analysts' board of directors. “The tax world is better for his contributions and his passing is a loss for all of us who knew him.” While he relished the fight for fair and transparent tax administration, Bergin was by no means a partisan voice. An outspoken critic of the IRS’s handling of investigations into alleged targeting of conservative exempt organizations, Bergin also cautioned lawmakers against making excessive IRS budget cuts that he viewed as hamstringing the agency’s ability to carry out its duties.

Bergin’s evenhandedness “often confused people,” recalled Robert Goulder, contributing editor at Tax Analysts and a longtime colleague. “He’d routinely receive inquiries from random strangers asking whether he was pro-IRS or anti-IRS. His answer was always the same: He was neither.” “When he fought for transparency in tax administration, it was because he believed it served the public good, not because he was looking to pick a fight with the federal government," Goulder said. “Yet he also wanted the IRS staff to have the necessary resources to properly do its job, because that’s a critical public interest as well. Chris perceived no inconsistency there, none at all.” Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project at Tax Analysts, said Bergin “fought the good fight,” adding that although U.S. taxes “might be far from perfect today . . . they’re certainly much better than they would have been without Chris’s leadership.” Bergin firmly believed in an open-door policy in the workplace and frequently invited employees to stop by his office anytime to discuss the latest tax issues or other concerns. His open-door policy extended to employees’ pets.

Bergin took great pride whenever Tax Analysts received public acclaim for its work environment, and he pushed to make the office pet-friendly, leading to Washingtonian magazine listing Tax Analysts among the top five pet-friendly workplaces in the region.

Bergin was also instrumental in leading Tax Analysts to acquire in 2006 the location of its current headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. In so doing, the company was reunited under the same roof, after years of being geographically split up around the Washington region. Bergin received his bachelor's degree in history from Boston College, and later a JD from Pace University School of Law. He completed executive programs at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management in 2008, 2012, and 2013.

Bergin is survived by his wife of 30 years, Ulrike; his son, C.J.; and his daughter, Caroline. A Memorial Service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 2 at the Murphy Funeral Home – Falls Church where a gathering of family and friends will be held Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Services

  • Memorial Service Saturday, December 2, 2017

Memories

Christopher Edward Bergin

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John Bell

May 16, 2019

I should have done this sooner. Chris was my editor and boss for so long, it's hard to remember when he wasn't! Early on, he took me under his wing (I know, it's cliched, but it's true), and from him I learned a great deal about writing, editing, loyalty, and quality of work. Chris did a lot for my career at Tax Analysts, and he was definitely one of the reasons I stuck around for, well, quite awhile! Rest in Peace, Chris. I think of you every time we publish Tax Notes, aka, your "third child"!

- Davies Family

December 3, 2017

We are so sad to hear about Chris our condolences to his wife and children Ulrike,Caroline,CJ and to his mother, Aunt Bernadette and the rest of the Bergin family. All our love and thoughts are with you all at this time.

December 3, 2017

Deepest condolences to all the family at this sad time. The Magee family (Ireland, U.K, Saudi Arabia )

Lismore Family

December 1, 2017

We are so sad to hear that Chris has passed,our condolences to you. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.May Chris Rest In Peace

December 1, 2017

Ulrike, CJ, Caroline and the Bergin Family. We are all so saddened to hear about Chris and send our deepest condolences. May it help to know that during this difficult time you are in our thoughts and prayers. God bless and comfort you. The McGivern Family - Chicago and Ireland.

November 30, 2017

My condolences to the family,
for the deep loss you must be feeling for your beloved one. How sad to lose someone so loved and dear to you.
May you find comfort in prayer and in one another. Jeremiah 29:12, 13

Gary Hughes

November 29, 2017

Please accept my deepest condolence. Chris was a wonderful and generous person. I will remember him fondly.

AF

November 29, 2017

So sorry for your painful loss. May the God of all comfort, comfort you during this difficult time.

D P

November 29, 2017

Condolences to family and friends of Christopher. May the God of comfort give you peace and a calm heart at this most difficult time. Again my condolences.

November 29, 2017

My condolences to the family. May the God who supplies endurance and comfort sustain you in your time of need.
-RM