Learn. Connect... Grow Your Business
Employers are ultimately responsible for the payment of income tax withheld, and both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes, even if they outsource their payroll responsibilities to a third party. Outsourcing payroll to a third party can help ensure that filing deadlines and deposit requirements are met and greatly streamline business operations. However, it's the employer's ultimate responsibility to pay these taxes, even if the failure to pay is entirely due to the payroll service provider's negligence or fraud.
Best Business Practices:
(1)DO NOT change the address on file with the IRS to that of the payroll service provider, so if there are any issues with an account the IRS will contact the employer. Changing the address may significantly limit the employer's ability to be timely informed of tax matters involving its business.
(2)DO ensure the payroll service provider is using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), which maintains a business's payment history for 16 months and can be viewed on-line, allowing the employer to confirm payments electronically. Employers should register on the EFTPS system to get their own PIN and use this PIN to periodically verify payments. A red flag should go up the first time a payroll service provider misses or makes a late payment. Employers with an EFTPS account will also be able to make additional tax payments that their payroll service provider isn't making on their behalf (e.g., estimated tax payments).
The IRS cautions that there have been instances of individuals and companies acting under the guise of payroll service providers who have stolen funds intended for payment of employment taxes.