Monday, February 6, 2012

If you owe 941's, The First Question is: What Kind of Entity is your Business?

At Washington Tax Services, one of the first questions we ask our 941 tax issue clients is:  what kind of entity is your business set up as - Corporation, Sole Prop, LLC?  The reason we ask this question is that different entities have different assessment rules -- should the liability go against you personally.

Let's look at the entities.  If you owe 941 payroll taxes and are a:

1. Sole Proprietorship -- The 941 taxes could go 100% against your Social Security Number. There is no reduction what is owed.  The key, though, is whether the IRS WILL MAKE the assessment against you?  If they do, they will treat these 941 sole prop taxes as if they were 1040 taxes that you owed personally.

2. S or C Corporation or Partnership -- If you are an officer of a S-corporation, the IRS can assess the taxes against you personally to the tune of about 45 to 55%.  This assessment is called the assessment of trust fund taxes or the civil penalties.  That is quite a discount.  And, of course, the IRS has to assess you -- a live body IRS person has come to out and interview you -- before this assessment can be made.

3. LLC - Sole Prop before January 2009. -- These 941 taxes are treated exactly as Sole Prop Taxes (above).  If they assess you, it is done as a 100% assessment against you personally.

4. LLC - Sole Prop After January 2009.  -- As per an IRS rule change, 941 taxes assessed after January of 2009 -- are treated just like a corporation (see above).  If the IRS assesses you, they will assess the taxes as "trust fund" with a discount around 45% to 55%.

Knowing that you could get a 45% discount or be assessed the full 100% is an important distinction when evaluating a 941 tax problem -- that's why we ask your businesses' entity, FIRST! 

Has your business fallen behind on 941 taxes, call me directly at 1-866-525-7324 and we can discuss what's the appropriate resolution of your situation, Marty Griffith, Washington Tax Services.  Feel free to email me also at

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