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  • Brian Barto, EA

Are You Behind in Your Payroll Tax Filings or Payments?

You have a good business, but sometimes your cash flow gets a little low and the payroll tax deposit doesn’t get made on time. Or maybe you just got busy and missed your quarterly payroll tax return filings.


Whatever the reason, you’re now behind in your payroll tax filings or payments or both.


You might feel like you’re temporarily borrowing the money from the IRS until your business gets back on track, but the IRS doesn’t see it that way at all. The IRS needs that money to make Social Security payments among other things and takes late payroll tax payments more seriously than just about any other tax problem.


Being Late on Paying Payroll Taxes Is Serious

To the IRS, a late payroll tax payment is considered stealing money from the government, and they have really put some teeth behind enforcement. The most important thing you can do is to get help from a tax representation professional as soon as possible.


Penalties can add up fast. There’s a failure to file penalty, a Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, interest on the taxes that are late, and the taxes themselves. It can be easy to get into a hole really fast with back payroll taxes due. Plus, it’s taxing on your peace of mind to have this kind of burden weighing you down.


The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies, and local entities will send a letter if one of the following happens:

  • You miss a payment deadline for payroll taxes due.

  • You miss a deadline for filing payroll tax reports.

  • An amount paid is short or over what the IRS or another tax agency calculates as due.

  • The agency notices a discrepancy on your payroll tax returns and needs an explanation.

  • You have been selected for an audit.

  • You fail to respond to previous correspondence.


Please note: The IRS will never send you an email about any of the above situations. They always send physical letters. If you get an email, it’s a scam.


If you don’t respond to the initial IRS letters, the IRS and other tax agencies can apply liens, levies, garnishments, and seizures in an attempt to collect payment. You don’t want it to escalate to this level.


It’s a great idea to get a tax professional working on your payroll tax problem. They can help you:

  • Respond professionally to IRS correspondence

  • Get you caught up on filing back tax returns that are late

  • Understand the IRS Collections process and your rights

  • Negotiate penalties, interest, and taxes due to lower your debt

  • Work out a payment plan on any money you owe to the IRS

  • Fight for you on issues that come up, such as a “responsible persons” situation

  • Help you get levies and liens removed from your assets


Responsible Person

If you worked for a company that did not file their payroll tax returns or pay their payroll taxes on time, the IRS may have designated you as a “responsible person.” Do NOT ignore this correspondence!

The IRS aggressively goes after anyone they can when it comes to payroll taxes, even if you’re not the owner of the business. If you have a relationship with the business that is of a particular status, duty, and authority, the IRS can blame you for not paying payroll taxes. And in this case, you are guilty before proven innocent.

It's best to contact a tax representation professional who can argue your case and get your “responsible person” status dropped.

Solutions for Your Payroll Tax Challenges

Contact us at no obligation to you so we can understand your specific payroll tax situation and provide advice on the options available to you. Your tax issue is handled with the utmost confidentiality and privacy.


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