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Work hasn't been taking out federal taxes?

Roselle, IL |

My dad's work changed checking companies at some point and somewhere along the lines they screwed up. Instead of 3 allowances, they marked 10 down so nothing has come out of his check for federal taxes for months, and he just realized it. Whose fault is it and what actions can be taken?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

It looks like there is a good chance that your father is going to owe taxes for 2011. If you are suggesting that it is the payroll company's fault and your father should not be liable for the taxes, that is a losing argument. At this point it is important to focus on changing the allowances and figuring out how to pay for the taxes that should have been paid throughout the year. If he can't afford to pay what he owes, there may be other options available to him. He should consult with an experienced tax attorney to explore his options.

This response should not be considered legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by this response, which reflects only the opinion of the author. The response should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question and could change if additional facts were made available.


It does not matter whose fault it is. Your father is liable for the income taxes on his tax returns. The only action that can be taken now is to increase his witholding this month. You should see a tax preparer who can project his liability and so that it can be determined how much he will be owing.

You should also contact his employer and request form W-4 which should have been filed in January of 2011, and should indicate how many exemptions were claimed. This form requires a signature and will indicate whether your father signed off on 10 exemptions, or the employer made this error.

A form w-4 must be filed every year and should indicate how many expemption are claimed.

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. The answer to question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. Mr. Smith is licensed to practice law throughout the state of California with offices in Los Angeles County. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States, and is also licensed to practice before the United States Tax Court. His phone number is 323-292-4116 or his email address is


Regardless of who is at fault he will still have to pay the tax. He can increase his withholding amount for the balance of the year to pay this tax and avoid penalty.

Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.