A business owner in Miami, Florida will spend two and a half years in prison after willfully failing to remit $850,000 in payroll taxes to the IRS. Instead he used the funds to pay himself and his wife bonuses and pay for a 55-foot yacht. The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida sentenced him at the highest range of of the guideline range, citing repeated willful violations that impact employees directly [Press Release, Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, 03/31/2023].
Employers are considered “responsible parties” who are fully liable for both collecting and paying employment taxes including income tax withholding, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. Failure to file and failure to pay violations accrue penalties and interest daily, and the punishment for these violations increases if they are shown to have been willful, repeated, or both. See Payroll Guide ¶4296 for a discussion on personal liability and Payroll Guide ¶4300 for more information on criminal penalties.
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