When it Comes to Payroll Taxes, Don’t Mess With the IRS

By Alan Olsen, CPA, MBA (tax)
Managing Partner
Greenstein Rogoff Olsen & Co. LLP

It’s payday! Everybody loves payday, except for the company making all those payments. It’s not that companies don’t want to pay their employees; rather it’s the high cost of payroll taxes that comes with having those employees. However, that’s the law, so if your company has a payroll then you know it should be paying payroll taxes.

Skipping Out Can Hurt You

Of course, the IRS doesn’t look kindly on any organization or individual that tries to skip out on their taxes. The federal tax agency goes after as many tax dodgers as it can. However, when it comes to payroll taxes, the IRS is very serious. In fact, it pursues payroll taxes with more vigor than most other kinds of taxes. The trust fund money belongs to the government and they are serious about tracking it down when it goes unpaid.

IRS Not Messing Around

If you are late on payroll taxes, or even worse, you don’t pay them at all, then the IRS will be coming. It doesn’t even matter why you were late or skipped out on your payment, or what you were using those funds for; no reason is a good one as far as the IRS is concerned. So what happens when the IRS discovers you aren’t current on your payroll taxes?

No One Is Safe

The implications for those who have delinquent payroll tax accounts are far reaching, and can even include persons who have no idea there is a problem. The IRS will typically make personal assessments against every responsible person, including anyone who has ownership in the company or signature authority within the company. The IRS can even penalize every “responsible person,” whether or not he or she had anything to do with the missing funds.

Not Done Yet

The IRS doesn’t look at anyone in these kinds of situations as an innocent bystander. That means if you are a director or an officer in the company you could end up in hot water. The IRS can even go after individuals on a personal level if the company won’t cooperate. They can even seek a 100 percent penalty, which is the amount of taxes that were not paid, from multiple parties at the same time.

Not Worth the Trouble

So what happens if a company simply won’t cooperate with the IRS? Does the tax agency give up and just move on? Not quite. You didn’t really think Uncle Sam would give up that easy, did you? The IRS, in some cases, will even move to have a business shut down so this kind of situation doesn’t happen again. If the situation is really egregious, the government might even pursue criminal penalties.

Pay Your Taxes On Time

If you are having issues with payroll tax, then make sure you get a handle on the problem right away. Skipping out on payroll taxes can land you in hot water with the IRS and no company wants the taxman breathing down its neck. If you need help, then perhaps a payroll service would be beneficial to your company. Likewise, if you have any kinds of tax questions or concerns then seek the help of an experienced tax and accounting company, like GROCO.