IRS Form 4180 Investigation Interview

Why Does the IRS Want to Interview Me, My Business Partner(s) and Our Employee(s)?

The interview is part of a larger investigation process to help determine the Responsible Individual(s) of the delinquent company. When a business owes payroll tax, the IRS conducts an interview to help determine which individuals associated with the business are responsible for withholding tax and making financial decisions for the business.

The IRS may request interviews from officers, partners, shareholders, employees and other individuals connected to the business. The interview is conducted by a local IRS Revenue Officer charged with collection of the employment tax debt.

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What is IRS the 4180 Trust Fund Interview?

IRS Form 4180 is used by Revenue Officers (ROs) to conduct the Trust Fund Investigation Interview. It contains the questions asked during the interview. Each person interviewed is asked the same questions and his or her answers are recorded on the form by the RO.

ROs are instructed to conduct the interview in person or by telephone one person at a time. Each person being interviewed must answer their own questions. The IRS then reviews the answers of each person for consistency and to help determine Responsibility.

ROs are also instructed NOT to give the person(s) being interviewed a copy of Form 4180 before the meeting. We recommend obtaining a copy of the interview form and going over it prior to the interview. If more than one person from your company will be interviewed, it's recommended that you go over the questions on the form together to avoid unintentional inconsistencies.

Do I Have to Go to the Interview?

No. But it may be beneficial for you to go. If you aren't responsible for the company's financial and tax decisions, the interview may help prove it.

However, if you don't participate in the Trust Fund Investigation, the IRS may summons you to meet with them. If you are hit with a summons, you'll need to provide the information/documents requested in the summons and attempt to "quash" it, and/or show up for the meeting. The IRS may request and summons additional information and documents such as:
  • Copies of business bank statements
  • Copies of cancelled business checks
  • Copy of bank signature cards
  • Copy of corporate or LLC formation and maintenance documents
The IRS may also decide to obtain copies of the documents above directly from your bank and other 3rd parties.

Also, the IRS doesn't need the 4180 interview to propose the assessment of the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty against an individual. The less information the IRS has available, the less accurate its proposed assessment(s) will be.

Can I Have My Representative Participate in the 4180 Interview in My Place?

No. But your representative may be present at the meeting or participate in the interview conference call. Your representative can't answer the questions for you, but can clarify questions and step in if the RO oversteps her bounds. A good representative will also help you prepare for the interview itself.

If you have a specific question about the Trust Fund or Form 4180 Interview, contact us. We'll give you straight answers to your questions.