If You Don't Withhold Payroll Taxes, You'll Be Seen as a Felon by the IRS

If you are a small business owner in Oklahoma, you may have noticed the IRS tends to treat businesses that illegally withhold their payroll taxes much less leniently than it does individual taxpayers who have gone astray. This is because payroll taxes technically belong to the U.S. government; if you fail to forward these taxes on a regular basis, it is not much different from breaking into your local Federal Reserve Bank and helping yourself to a gold brick!

Payroll Tax Dodgers Often Are Treated Like Felons

Why does an IRS revenue officer so often presume that the owner of a business with a sizable tax debt is a confirmed criminal, while he shows much more sympathy (well, sometimes) to individual taxpayers? Here are some likely reasons:

  • As the owner of a business, you are supposed to have more insight into the U.S. tax and legal system than the average bricklayer. You were smart enough to incorporate your firm and hire a staff; why didn't you know you were supposed to deduct payroll taxes?
  • If your company has, say, 100 employees, and you fail to forward their payroll taxes to the IRS, that offense will be considered literally 100 times more serious than that of an individual who doesn't pay his taxes in full.
  • A one-time failure to forward payroll taxes may be treated fairly leniently. However, if you “pyramid” this offense by continuing to withhold your quarterly taxes and using the money for your own purposes, this may be seen as the equivalent of racketeering!
  • The IRS has to set an example when a small business cheats on its taxes, lest larger companies pick up the baton and get the idea they too can fail to forward payroll taxes. It's easier to go after a small company than a huge multinational.


Behind on Your Payroll Taxes? You Need to Hire a Lawyer Today

The best way to address your failure to forward payroll taxes is to deal with the issue proactively, rather than waiting until the IRS files criminal charges. Are you an Oklahoma business owner who has fallen seriously behind in your payroll responsibilities? Contact an experienced tax lawyer at Travis W. Watkins, PC to find out what we can do for you!