An employer must withhold from an employee’s pay a certain amount of money to cover the employee’s federal income tax liability. In addition to income tax withheld directly from the employee, the employer is required to withhold and pay, in the same manner, the employee’s social security and Medicare taxes. The combination of the employee’s withheld taxes are called “trust taxes.” The reason for this designation is that the money belongs to the employee, since it is withheld directly from his pay. The employer is legally responsible to accurately withhold, account for and pay the amounts to the IRS on the employee’s behalf.
Whenever a business has unpaid employment taxes, the IRS will seek to satisfy those debts from the business assets. If the business cannot pay, the IRS will attempt to locate an individual against whom the assessment of the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty can be made.
The IRS is authorized to assess the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty against any individual required to collect, account for and pay employment taxes that were withheld. The penalty may be assessed against one or more individuals. Various criteria must be met for an individual to be held personally responsible for this type of debt. Similar programs used to resolve an individual’s problems with the IRS, such as Offers in Compromise and Installment Agreements, may be used to address payroll tax problems. In-depth financial disclosures and a thorough analysis will determine the appropriate action necessary to solve the problems at hand. Whether your company is still operating, or whether your business is now closed, we have successfully guided employers and business owners through the payroll tax maze and helped them deal with their unpaid or unfiled payroll taxes.
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