Unpaid payroll taxes and missing payroll tax returns can create the severest of financial pains and result in possible prison time, but most employers are not aware of it until it is too late. It’s a time bomb that will detonate if ignored, leaving its victims devastated from the aftermath. The civil penalties alone can be approximately 50% of the tax due alone and can be assessed personally against the business owner and others. The good news is that the time bomb can be defused if the right actions are taken by the tax professional before it is too late.

Although the small business owner doesn't have malice or evil desires, the IRS doesn't take lightly unpaid payroll taxes and it has great powers and authority to collect. And when the employer is caught by the IRS years later, the damage has already been done. Businesses can be closed. Friendships can be strained. Marriages sometimes end in divorce.

Tax professionals must understand the responsibilities and potential civil and criminal implications for unpaid payroll taxes. The better they understand, the better they can help their clients mitigate risk, and protect their firms from civil penalties. This course helps the CPA evaluate their client's payroll tax problems and advise their client on the best path to resolving the tax debt.

Program Content:
The major topics covered in this class include:

  • The common statutes guiding the assessment and collection of payroll taxes
  • "Responsible party" and how it relates to the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty
  • The steps of the TFRP process
  • The various civil penalties for unpaid payroll taxes
  • Seven options to resolve tax debts
  • How IRS evaluates and investigates employment tax fraud

Who should attend: CPAs with clients who have small businesses; payroll tax return preparers.

Learning Objectives
  • Explore and recall the common statutes guiding the assessment and collection of payroll taxes.
  • Recognize when someone is a candidate for the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty.
  • Discover and create a plan to defend a taxpayer against the TFRP.
  • Identify the criteria the IRS uses to evaluate collection potential.
  • Explore and implement a strategy to resolve tax debts.
Last updated/reviewed: February 13, 2024
1 Review (4 ratings)


Member's Profile
The instructor was awesome, knowledgeable, and thorough. I hope there are more classes with him.

Course Complexity: Foundational
No advanced preparation or prerequisites are required for this course.
Education Provider Information
Company: Illumeo, Inc., 75 East Santa Clara St., Suite 1215, San Jose, CA 95113
Contact: For more information regarding this course, including complaint and cancellation policies, please contact our offices at (408) 400- 3993 or send an e-mail to .
Instructor for this course
Course Syllabus
  Introduction to Unpaid Payroll Taxes7:32
  Why is This Important11:26
  Basic Concepts12:35
  Common Civil Statutes3:48
  Trust Fund Recovery Penalty12:32
  The Steps of TFRP Process20:38
  Civil Penalties9:02
  IRS Collection Practices7:04
  Seven Action to Solve Tax Problems17:54
  Steps When you Get the Phone Call4:40
  Unpaid Payroll Taxes: A Time Bomb You Can Defuse1:47:11
  Slides: Unpaid Payroll Taxes: A Time Bomb You Can DefusePDF
  Unpaid Payroll Taxes: A Time Bomb You Can Defuse Glossary/IndexPDF