I was a part owner of a retail business (store) from 2002 to 2003. I was listed as an officer of the business with IRS and State of Michigan. I sold my share of the business in 2003 and I am pretty sure my accountant at that time filed the paperwork to remove me as an officer. I have not heard anything about this business for 9 years. How I started getting letters from IRS and State of Michigan stating I owe Federal and sales taxes for various years since 2003. I no longer have any paperwork about the sale of the business, and the accountant is no longer in business. I tried calling state and IRS but they say I am listed as an officer of the business and need to pay because the store is not paying their taxes. Not sure what to do at this point.
I did find that I was indeed removed as an officer/agent of the business (S-corp) in 2004. However, I am still getting letters, and statements from IRS and State of MI for taxes ranging from 2006 to 2011. Also, I know for sure I sold my share of the business in 2003 (September i believe), would I still be liable for unpaid 2003 taxes?
First of all, you can check the online records through the State of Michigan to determine who the company reported as the officers. That may not seal the deal for you, but it would be a start. You may end up needing to hire an attorney to defend you, however. The online records can be found, here: http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/bcs_corp/sr_corp.asp
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State taxing authorities and the IRS can get very nasty in matters like this. Get a good local attorney to get out in front of this before the matter gets more complicated - and yes, it can get much more complicated. Sales tax can turn criminal very quickly for very little amounts of money. So this is not the type of thing you want to put you head in the sand over and believe that the authorities will figure it out. You need an attorney that specializes in both IRS and Michigan tax controversy.
You have no liability after 2003, but may need to provide information to the IRS and the State showing you were not an owner after 2003. The Federal 2004 1120S and State SBT tax returns will show that you were no longer a shareholder. You may have liability for 2003 for the trust fund portions of the payroll taxes (amounts withheld from employees) and for State sales tax liability as a responsible officer.
Respond promptly so assessments do not become final.