The IRS cannot make an assessment against business owners for unpaid employee withholding taxes unless prior notice and appeal rights are first provided.
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This is called a trust fund recovery penalty, and an IRS Revenue Officer will issue Letter 1153 to any person with decision making authority over the payment of the employee withholding. (It is called a trust fund recovery penalty because the decision-makers had a caretaking (trust) responsibility to pay the employees’ withholding to the IRS; failing that trust can result in the business owners being held responsible for repayment of the employment taxes.) This is authorized by Internal Revenue Code section 6672.
The IRS Letter 1153 is sent by an IRS Revenue Officer after an investigation into finding the decision-makers. Many times, the IRS targets for the trust fund penalty were not decision-makers and should not be held responsible for the failures of the business. If the IRS target disputes the liability, there is a 60 day window of time to file an appeal. The appeal prevents an assessment being made against the target, and provides independent review of the Revenue Officer’s findings.
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Some Recent Tax Settlements:
Mr. Dillard – CA Owed $6884, IRS settled for $400
Mr. Batiste – LA Owed $18513, IRS settled for $2972
Mr. Johnson – CA Owed $21,378, IRS settled for $4500
Ms. Gonzalez – TX Owed $28,816, IRS settled for $1700
Mr. Anthony – NY Owed $14,000, IRS settled for $900
Mr. Wilkes – CA Owed 32,211, IRS settled for $1250
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