Trust Fund Recovery Penalty Disputes

At Thorn Law Group, we have extensive experience representing business owners in audits and disputes with the IRS over the withholding and payment of payroll taxes.

Withholding taxes are the income and social security taxes an employer withholds from the wages of its employees. They are commonly referred to as "trust fund" taxes because they are held in trust by the employer until it pays over that amount to the government.

The IRS can assess a Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (“TFRP”) against any individual taxpayer who fails to promptly pay withheld income and employment taxes that cannot be immediately collected from the business. Specifically, any person who is responsible for withholding, accounting for, or depositing or paying these taxes and who willfully fails to do so can be held personally liable for a penalty equal to the full amount of the unpaid tax, plus interest. A “responsible person” for this purpose can be an officer of a corporation, a partner, a sole proprietor, or an employee of any form of business if he or she has control over the disbursement of funds. A trustee or agent with authority over the funds of the business can also be held responsible for the penalty.

The IRS is very aggressive in pursuing unpaid payroll taxes. In addition to the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, the Service is quite willing to criminally prosecute those who willfully fail to file payroll tax returns or to pay payroll taxes.

If you are the potential target of an IRS assessment of the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, or have been notified by the IRS that you will be interviewed in connection with the TFRP, contact Thorn Law Group so we can explore your options.

For more on the most up-to-date information on civil audits and offshore accounts, please visit News & Events

Contact Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner at or 202-349-4033 if you have been contacted by an IRS Revenue Agent for an audit. We will work with you and the IRS to manage the audit process and assess your options if disputes regarding your tax liabilities arise.




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