Employers are responsible to withhold, deposit, report and pay federal employment taxes for their employees. Employers facing cash flow crunches or shortages often turn to the withheld taxes as a source of business finance through either sloth, willful neglect, or the mistaken belief that they can catch up on the payments without penalty. These employers are seriously misinformed, and face harsh penalties including potential criminal liability, huge fines, and possible jail time. The penalty structure is draconian for the business, and the payment of these penalties may often leave the business in worse financial shape. To add insult to injury, often key employees of the business are individually assessed for millions of dollars in unpaid tax liability. These assessments may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy.
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