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LeAnne
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Business questions
      #776631 - 02/02/12 03:39 PM

I have a friend who is a secretary at a business. Well the IRS just walked in and says they have not paid the employment taxes. Now she is not on the checkbook, her boss has to sign ALL checks.
But the IRS people told her she could be responsible for repayment?

Anyway she is freaking out? I am sure the boss will say it is all her fault. But if the money is not there to pay it, the boss knew it too.

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rocketgirl
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Re: Business questions [Re: LeAnne]
      #776632 - 02/02/12 03:58 PM

Did she sign the forms that she sent in with the checks (can't remember what the form # is)? If she did, then they will try to come after her if they haven't been paid.. my sister is going through the EXACT same thing. The guy she was working for hadn't paid his quarterlies for God knows how long, my sis got them ready, signed them (like she has for every other employer she's worked for) and now they are coming after her for them.. it is CRAZY!

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Lisa

Diplomacy - the art of telling someone to go to hell, and them looking forward to the trip.


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elliesmom
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Re: Business questions [Re: LeAnne]
      #776633 - 02/02/12 03:59 PM

If that is their attitude I would not say one more word to them and get an attorney. But I am not sure what is meant by "employment taxes." If they mean the taxes "withheld" from her paycheck never got to the IRS - yep. My understanding is that she would be on the hook for HER money. If your boss takes the money and never pays the IRS, you will owe it. Now I am basing this belief off of a Murder She Wrote episode I watched last week (DH is gone for a while). But I have no reason to believe the set-up story was not real. Although it was filmed in the 80s so things may have changed too.

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ssmom79
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Re: Business questions [Re: LeAnne]
      #776634 - 02/02/12 04:04 PM

When you say Secretary do you mean as in Officer of the company or as in Secretary - Admin. Assistant?

A corporate officer can be held responsible for unpaid taxes but an IRS agent has to determine who is responsible. I mean, ultimately, the person writing the checks and profiting from the business should be held responsible....but it's up to the IRS to determine the "who".


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ssmom79
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Re: Business questions [Re: elliesmom]
      #776635 - 02/02/12 04:04 PM

My Dad loved Mrs. Fletcher.

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LeAnne
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Re: Business questions [Re: ssmom79]
      #776637 - 02/02/12 04:23 PM

She is not an officer, just secretary. She doesn't sign checks for anything. He signs all checks and all tax forms.

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LeAnne
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Re: Business questions [Re: rocketgirl]
      #776638 - 02/02/12 04:26 PM

The form is a 941. The state has went to .."You have to pay them online" with an EFT account through the government website.

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LeAnne
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Re: Business questions [Re: LeAnne]
      #776639 - 02/02/12 04:28 PM

Just talked to her, she is waiting to be interviewed by the IRS. She can here them talking to boss and evil wifey poo, and they are throwing all the blame on her....

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Avaya
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Re: Business questions [Re: elliesmom]
      #776640 - 02/02/12 04:46 PM

No, if the employer withheld and didn't remit, the employer owes it, never the employee/taxpayer. Now that's separate from 'who is responsible', but the employee/taxpayer wouldn't be responsible for their own.

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ssmom79
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Re: Business questions [Re: LeAnne]
      #776646 - 02/02/12 06:25 PM

She is safe LeAnne. She will need to answer all the questions but she won't be held responsible. Corporate officers are a different story. That's why I don't sign anything!!

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rocketgirl
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Re: Business questions [Re: ssmom79]
      #776647 - 02/02/12 07:05 PM

Do not be too sure about that! The IRS told my sister they didn't care that she wasn't an officer and that she had an affidavit from the OWNER saying she wasn't responsible.. she is still in this mess!

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Lisa

Diplomacy - the art of telling someone to go to hell, and them looking forward to the trip.


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Debi
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Re: Business questions [Re: LeAnne]
      #776651 - 02/02/12 08:31 PM

From what I know (which is admittedly not a lot) the government , not just the IRS, will put blame where ever they can to get their money. The director of my daughter's daycare had crimnal charges against her because someone who was getting state daycare assistance lied about working while her daycare bill was being paid. She had not been working for some time but was still bringing the kids to daycare and had not informed the state she wasn't employed. The daycare had no idea she wasn't working (neither did the state) so they sent the forms into the state for payment.

The woman was caught some time later and tried to say the kids were never at the day care during that time and she had no idea why the daycare had tried to collect. They had sign in sheets with the mom's signature on them. (We have to sign the kids in and out each day along with one of the teachers signing them in and out on another sheet.) It took TWO years to clear it up. the state just finally dropped the criminal charges against the director even though she was not the onle who signed the kids in or out. In the beginning of the suit the state stopped paying for all of the kids on assistance. It came very close to having to shut down because about 80% of their money comes from the state.

The owner wanted the director to plead guilty so she could keep her business and the director told her to shove it. It was HER name and she was fighting it. In the mean time the daycare was sold so the state agreed to pay the new daycare going forward. The new owners are much better (one of them is a parent that has a child attending) and they stood behind the director and helped her fight it.

Anyway, even if nothing will ever come of it the IRS could very probably stick it to her and make her life a living hell for a long time.

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When we were together, you said you'd die for me. Now, I think it's time you kept your promise.


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ssmom79
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Re: Business questions [Re: rocketgirl]
      #776654 - 02/02/12 08:56 PM

My CPA used to work for the IRS and said he they focus on 1) the one who signs the 941 and 2) the one who signs the tax returns. Usually a secretary in the capacity that LeAnne mentioned above may have to answer some questions but would not be held responsible for the unpaid taxes. Your sister sounds like she is getting too much heat for her capacity as an employee. I'm sorry she is going through that. I couldn't imagine having the IRS all over a company I worked for. I hope she is not found responsible for anything.

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rocketgirl
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Re: Business questions [Re: ssmom79]
      #776661 - 02/02/12 10:31 PM

They are definitely focusing on who signed the 941! The jerk filed BK, too..

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Lisa

Diplomacy - the art of telling someone to go to hell, and them looking forward to the trip.


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SweetLight
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Re: Business questions [Re: rocketgirl]
      #776668 - 02/03/12 01:03 AM

This stuff stresses me out big time too. I handle a ton of banking and taxes, and I will not sign anything. That's why he gets paid the big bucks. He's the boss, he calls the shots, on his approval, so he signs. Thankfully we have that kind of relationship, but I understand that it can get out of control. Wow, so crazy the bookkeepers are being held responsible. That's me!

My Dad was here for 6 hours on Monday. He's a recently retired CPA, we are all about following the rules. When the boss decides how they want to do it, you do it that way, it's really their call.


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Gecko
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Re: Business questions [Re: LeAnne]
      #776670 - 02/03/12 01:44 AM

But the IRS people told her she could be responsible for repayment?

---> ONLY if SHE was on the checking accounting and signed the tax forms.

---> As a regular employer of a company, if the employer withholds taxes from, but doesn't pay it in...you would still get 'credit' for having done so (providing you can prove the money was withhold [detailed paystub, W-2]). This is why it is always a good idea to keep all your paystubs and compare at the end of the year with your W-2.

---> And speaking of paystubs...if you have any kind of wage withholding...child support or garnishment...it is also a good idea to keep those paystubs.

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Cassie23
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Re: Business questions [Re: rocketgirl]
      #776682 - 02/03/12 06:05 AM

They are definitely focusing on who signed the 941! The jerk filed BK, too..

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Yeah I've heard that whatever you sign you are responsible for. Which in most cases I don't know how you could get out of something you prepared and didn't sign? If you prepare a form, or do the bookkeeping or what not- I think you have to sign it. I would assume that is what most employers would ask you to do. I know as a bookkeeper you would be liable if the numbers are wrong or fudged. Actually any finance member would be if they prepared the paperwork.

I am confused how with Leanne's friend, her being a secretary and all, would know enough to know what she is signing?


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MrsB
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Re: Business questions [Re: Cassie23]
      #776684 - 02/03/12 06:19 AM

I know when I sign things for work, there's a waiver that has to be signed by the owner/president allowing me to sign - and that also puts the responsibility on him - I am only representing the company when I sign, and not myself.

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rocketgirl
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Re: Business questions [Re: Gecko]
      #776687 - 02/03/12 06:41 AM


---> ONLY if SHE was on the checking accounting and signed the tax forms.

I am going to have to respectfully disagree on this. My sister is living a nightmare right now. And she was NOT on the checking account.

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Lisa

Diplomacy - the art of telling someone to go to hell, and them looking forward to the trip.


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Avaya
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Re: Business questions [Re: rocketgirl]
      #776689 - 02/03/12 08:14 AM

I think the IRS is going to SCARE whoever they can to get the information they need, if that mean's lying about making her liable, I think they'd do that (sort of like the horror stories you hear about bill collectors who will say ANYTHING and threaten things that are illegal) in order to get paid at all costs. A little fear goes a long way.

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LeAnne
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Re: Business questions [Re: Avaya]
      #776690 - 02/03/12 08:45 AM

I have her paper here, waiting on a call from my CPA now, but they want to know how much CS, alimony(she doesn't get alimony), her bank statements, mortgage statements, vehicle statements, medical bills, insurance, and her utilities payments is on the list I have.

Don't know if the IRS lady took it as She is the Secretary of the corp?
She is not, we pulled up the IRS website and her boss is listed as the president, secretary and the only board of director listed.
Her boss threw a hissy fit and pointed at her for all his problems. He stomped in the back and the IRS lady followed him. She asked who this HUGE AZZ boat belonged to and he told her a customers. She could here her boss and his wife blaming everything on her.
Then the IRS lady talked to my friend. The lady asked her who the boat belonged to? My boss. He has been buying parts for his boat and running through the corp. He is using the boat as a right off for the corp., along with his lakehouse.
He pretty much takes all cash that comes through also, leaving a ton of OPEN tickets, that look like they have never been collected.
He has had her locked out of the computer for about 6 months now. If she has to make a customer ticket, he stands behind her, watches her every move, then locks her out.

I told her 7 months ago to start copying things, legal I don't know, but she has quite a few things copied and stored at home.
She didn't want to go in today, she was just going to quit. NO, NO, No, so she went in today. If anything he can fire her, so hopefully she can collect UE?

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googledad
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Re: Business questions [Re: LeAnne]
      #776691 - 02/03/12 08:56 AM

Obviously the fault of the greedy , overpaid employees . Don't you know it's tough being a " job creator " ?

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Gecko
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Re: Business questions [Re: rocketgirl]
      #776741 - 02/03/12 11:32 PM

RG -

While the media and politics has made much of the 'rich' not paying their fair share...it is only a drop in the bucket when it comes to the $300 BILLION out there in UNPAID payroll taxes. As a result, the IRS has gotten VERY aggressive when it comes collections because of the personal tax liability. In other words...not only do they go after the company, but they can go after individuals...like company/corporate officers, members, principals, fiduciaries and...responsible parties.

When I got into accounting/bookkeeping some 30 years ago, I never though twice about signing tax forms or even being a signatory on the company's checking accounts. 1) it was logical for me to sign the tax forms since I had direct knowledge that the information contained within was 'true, correct and complete'; 2) it made paying bills easier; and 3) I was just an EMPLOYEE. That all changed when I moved to Arizona and ended up working for some companies that had some questionable (illegal) business practices. On one hand, I wanted to have high moral principals, but on the other...I needed to pay child support or end up in jail. So I made a few anonymous phone calls and found out:

- Even though it appears that you are only signing a declaratory statement when you sign the form, the instructions for the form are very clear on who is supposed to sign tax forms. So when a regular employee signs the form, they are declaring that they are an authorized representative and as such, they are accepting responsibility for the debt.

- Persons with nominal authority, but without actual authority are not responsible. As an example...I can prepare and sign the checks for payables, but cannot send them without prior approval. Or I have limited authority to go ahead and pay for 'petty cash' items, not to exceed say...$200.

The result: I never again signed any tax forms. And the only time I was a signatory on a checking account, is if it was a stated 'petty cash' account with documented limitations.

When payroll taxes are not paid, the IRS makes a list of possible folks who are potentially responsible. Those persons include owners, officers, members, and duly authorized representatives of the the business, along with those who sign tax forms and pay the bills.

Yes...for an employee thinking that they are just doing their job...it can be a real nightmare. A lot is going to depend on your sister's job description and duties, particularly in regard to payment of taxes and other creditors and knowledge that the taxes were owed and not paid.

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If you air your dirty linen in public, expect people to comment on the skid marks!


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