If you own a business, the IRS views failing to pay payroll taxes as the cardinal sin of tax delinquency. This is because a large portion of the payroll taxes are your employees’ withholdings – you merely hold the money for the government until you send it in to them. Not paying your company’s payroll taxes is equivalent to stealing your employees’ money in the eyes of the IRS.
As a result, penalties for failing to pay your payroll taxes and filing your payroll tax returns on time are much more severe than other types of penalties. They can drastically multiply the amount you owe in a very short time.
And yet MANY businesses end up owing payroll taxes!
If you are behind on paying payroll taxes for your company, IT IS A SERIOUS MATTER! The IRS is extremely aggressive pursuing collection of this type of tax. They would rather seize your business assets, close you down, sell your assets at auction, and put you out of business than allow you to continue amassing additional payroll tax liabilities.
But much worse is that payroll tax liabilities can be assessed on individual owners and even employees of a company, even if your business is a corporation. This is called the Trust Fund Assessment. These type of taxes cannot be walked away from even if a corporation closes, and the IRS pursues collection against each of the responsible owners and employees for the full Trust Fund amount until the debt is paid in full.
If you are behind on your payroll taxes, DO NOT meet with the IRS on your own. How you answer their initial questions can determine whether you stay in business or not and whether you are personally assessed. It is critical that you hire a tax professional who understands payroll tax problems, understands the Trust Fund Recovery Assessment and knows how IRS collections are handled.