reckless disregard

Who Qualifies As A Responsible Person To Pay A Trust Fund Penalty?

The IRS utilizes a very broad definition of “responsible person” in the context of trust fund recovery penalties. The term, which may extend to more than one party within a corporation, partnership or LLC, applies to any person who willfully fails to perform a duty to pay trust fund taxes. It may be a corporate officer, director, employee, or shareholder, as well as a manager, employee, or member of a limited liability company. If a person is in any of the aforementioned positions where he or she controls a business’s financial affairs, liability as a responsible person for trust fund recovery penalties is a genuine possibility.

The Trust Fund Penalty – No One Is Safe

Employers are required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes from their employees’ wages for payment of payroll taxes such as federal income taxes and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes. Such taxes are held in trust by an employer until it makes a federal deposit of the due amounts.

The IRS applies a term, “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” (TFRP), for the fine related to an employer’s willful failure to pay over necessary federal income and FICA taxes. “Responsible persons” making such payments may be subject to criminal charges for any willful failure to remit these taxes. Most TFRP cases involve corporate officers and companies that are no longer in business, in which case the IRS may only collect TFRP from “responsible persons.”

Who Is Liable For Failure To Pay Over Employment Taxes?

Employers are required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes from their employees’ wages for payment of payroll taxes such as federal income taxes and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes, which are held in trust until the employer makes a federal deposit of these amounts. The IRS applies a term, “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” or TFRP, well-known by employers, to describe the fine for employer’s willful failure to pay over these taxes. Persons responsible for making such payments may be subject to criminal charges for any willful failure to do so. Most TFRP cases involve corporate officers.

Hulk Hogan Wins $140 Million. Windfall For The IRS (And Lawyers) Too.

A Florida jury awarded Terry Bollea, much better known as Hulk Hogan, $115 million in a lawsuit against Gawker Media for publishing footage of him participating in sexual activity four years ago. Jurors found that the defendant acted with reckless disregard publishing the video and awarded Hogan $60 million for emotional distress and $55 million for economic injury. This could increase as jurors still have to reconvene and deliberate whether punitive damages are appropriate.

Fail to Turn Over Payroll Taxes To The IRS? You Could Be Looking At Jail Time

An employer is required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes from its employees’ wages for payment to the IRS. Payroll taxes such as federal income taxes and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes, both withheld by an employer, are held in trust until the employer makes a federal deposit of these amounts. The IRS applies a term, “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” or TFRP, well-known by employers, to describe the fine for employer’s willful failure to remit payroll taxes.

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