IRS Form 4180 Interview – Trust Fund Recovery Penalty Interview Explanation

The IRS uses a Form 4180 interview in order to determine liability for unpaid payroll tax debts. Basically, they are looking to find people to be individually responsible for not paying the payroll tax debts. The title of the form is “Report of Interview with Individual Relative to Trust Fund Recovery Penalty or Personal Liability for Excise Taxes.”

IRS Form 4180 Interview - Trust Fund Recovery Penalty Interview Explanation

What questions are on form 4180?

They are going to ask things like:

  • What your job title?
  • Do you sign or send payroll tax returns?
  • What’s your control over bank accounts?
  • Do you make payroll payments or authorize them?
  • Did you know the taxes were not being paid?
  • Are you involved in the company’s electronic banking?
  • Were other bills still being paid?

They may ask some other questions related to control of finances. 

Then, if you are using a service provider for payroll, they will ask some questions related to the companies use of that provider also.

Decisions stemming from form 4180

The main purpose of this interview is to determine the responsibility assigned within the company’s organization for handling funds earmarked for IRS collection.

After going through all the information the IRS will get back to you at some point and make a determination whether you are liable or not, personally, for the trust fund portion of the payroll tax debt, which is the base tax amount.

One thing I strongly recommend is setting up a payroll provider to do your payroll. Programs like Gusto do all the work for you and are much more reliable than having someone do it manually. Even in this scenario, the IRS may still want to interview someone at the payroll provider, or the person at your company who set up the payroll outsourcing.

So if you have any questions or comments related to the 4180 interview, post below and one of our expert tax attorneys will answer.

If you are doing your own case check out our free tax help guide.

If you are looking for a consultation with an expert tax attorney, go to our intake form or call us at (888) 515-4829.


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