Wednesday, August 27, 2008

That's not your money!

The IRS takes the civil trust fund very seriously. If you own a business, you know exactly what the civil trust fund is. When you pay employees, the IRS "trusts" you to collect their withholding and FICA taxes. At that point, you have to give that money to the IRS and file a form 941 to reconcile what you have paid the IRS.

What happens a lot of times is a business will get into a cash crunch and not pay their civil trust fund deposits to pay other bills instead. They think they can catch up with it the next month and when that doesn't happen, the next. Slowly they realize that they are now behind 3 months and have not filed their form 941. The IRS sees this as stealing. This is not unpaid taxes of the business; instead, it is other people's money that was intended to pay their own taxes, medicare and social security retirement. It must be paid back and in full. The IRS does not negotiate on this type of liability.

This potentially places a business in great jeopardy. By not paying and/or filing for 3 months, they have earned themselves a Revenue Officer, the highest level of collections enforcement the IRS has. It is the Revenue Officer's job to collect the civil trust fund money. They will levy a business to collect the money. They can levy bank accounts and accounts receivables. They can even shut down a business to collect the civil trust fund.

It does not have to be the end of the road for your business. There are ways of handling this situation with the IRS. You need professional representation to help you navigate through these kinds of rough waters. There is help if you want it!

1 comment:

Brian Watkins said...

Great post. You covered all the major bases here well, but I can also recommend readers check out Effectur's article on this topic for further reading.