How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jack R. Your Own Question
Jack R.
Jack R., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6147
Experience:  OH/TX Practicing Attorney focusing on Family Law, Foreclosure, Landlord-Tenant Issues.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Jack R. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Today when I attempted to file my taxes, I was surprised to

This answer was rated:

Today when I attempted to file my taxes, I was surprised to find that rather than having a tax refund, I in fact owe nearly $3,000 to the state and federal government. I discovered that this was due to having failed to have federal income tax withheld from my paychecks. I was unaware that these taxes were not being taken out of each paycheck.
In the summer of 2011 I graduated from college, and in the fall of 2011 I started my current job as a part-time, temporary employee as a legal assistant in a small firm in the State of Georgia. Since I only worked a few days per week at a low hourly rate, I originally claimed zero (0) exemptions and zero (0) allowances for federal and state taxes. When it came time to file taxes for 2011, I had not made enough to be required to file. In the summer of 2012 I became a salary, full-time employee (and my income increased). When my employment status changed from part-time to full-time/salary, however, the Human Resources department at my place of employment did not inform or recommend any changes that needed to be made to my deductions. Now I am looking at a W-2 that shows $0.00 for Federal Income tax withheld and I am three grand in debt.
In that this is my first job and my first time filing taxes, I did not understand the process and I was unaware that the federal government was not taking taxes out of each pay check during the year of 2012. I saw that money was being taken out of my paychecks (which I now understand was for Social Security and Medicare), however, I assumed that this money was going toward taxes. I believe that the human resources department, the individual in charge of payroll, or perhaps ADP (the program used for payroll at my place of employment) is to blame for this mishap. I believe that I should have been informed of my deductions and that alternative options should have been presented to me to avoid paying such a large sum of money all at once at the end of the 2012 tax period.
With your knowledge and expertise as guidance, please advise if you believe I should approach my boss (the head attorney in our small firm), the IRS, a local tax expert, or another individual or entity for advice and assistance. I am unsure of what my next steps should be, and I am very concerned about the taxes that I owe, which I cannot afford as an individual financing a car, paying back student loans, and just trying to get on my feet as a young adult.
All advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Thank you for choosing Just Answer. I am sorry to hear of your situation.


Unfortunately, the employer is not liable to you for the actual income tax owed to the IRS. This was money you owed to the IRS and you did receive the money. Since you had the money, the only difference is that you should have paid the IRS rather than the employer.


You should talk to your boss and explain the situation. You can ask them to assist with the penalty + interest that will be inevitably assessed. Your employer may indicate that it was your responsibility to check your pay stub. Had you identified the problem earlier the problem may never has existed.



No matter how you fair with your employer , you should contact the IRS immediately you can work out an installment agreement paying the amount due in up to 5 years. If you enter into an installment agreement with the IRS quickly the late penalty will be ¼% of the unpaid tax per month.


There will also be interest in addition to the late payment penalty. The interest on the tax is around 3% per year, compounded daily. Your are looking at about $15.00 per month in late fees and interest, plus the tax due.



If you found this answer useful please press the appropriate quality of service button of 3 or greater. This is needed so I can get credit for my answer. If you have follow up questions please ask.


This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship.Information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information.





Jack R. and 7 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

Related Legal Questions