Below are highlights from IRS Issue Number: IR-2020-186
Many employers outsource their payroll and related tax duties to third parties. This streamlines business operations by collecting and timely depositing payroll taxes on the employer’s behalf and filing required payroll tax returns with state and federal authorities.
Though most of these businesses provide quality service, there are, unfortunately, some who do not have their clients’ best interests at heart. Each year, a few of these third parties fail to remit the payroll taxes entrusted to them and close their doors abruptly. The damage hits their unsuspecting clients hard.
Like employers who handle their own payroll duties, employers who outsource this function are in most instances still legally responsible for any and all payroll taxes due. This includes any federal income taxes withheld as well as both the employer and employee shares of Social Security and Medicare taxes. This is true even if the employer forwards tax amounts to the third party to make the required deposits or payments.
The IRS urges employers to take a number of steps to protect themselves from unscrupulous third parties.