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After the sentencing in September, if I am understanding this right, the IRS will then seek to collect on the $4.7M (plus interest and penalties?).

That's what I would assume, depending on what happens at sentencing. Remember that eligibility for time in the slammer doesn't automatically mean she'll go there. I would assume there would be some period of probation, which would include restitution. How this would affect resolution of the original civil liability I don't know.

Regardless of the final amount, if they do not have that much money lying around, how will this likely pan out?

Will the IRS seize assets and proceed to auction? This would effectively shut down the business, wouldn't it? If so, would I have an opportunity to purchase any assets, or would they just go to some government clearing house?

Seizure and sale of assets is certainly one option, assuming there's anything with enough equity to warrant seizure. The sales are at public auction, usually in the county where the property is located. Anyone can attend and bid, but if things work the same in Denver as they did in Chicago, there are pros who usually wind up getting the stuff through high bid. We called them "the 40 thieves."

Even if the assets of the business are seized and sold that doesn't necessarily mean that the business will close. It could keep operating under different ownership. I'm unsure of exactly what the legal structure of this business is, so it's hard to get very specific. I would just say that if a business isn't paying its payroll taxes it's not a good message about the business's finances.

Or would they allow her to set up a payment plan and things would be business as usual for the employees?

It could happen.

If given an opportunity to purchase the branch I work in, would I be better off to make a move now, or wait until after sentencing?
(an asset only purchase was offered but no numbers have been discussed - interestingly this offer was made only days before the newspaper article).

Since the IRS has surely protected the government's interest with filed notices of lien they would be involved in any sale. I'd say that if you want to pursue a purchase go ahead and do it. Just make sure you have good financial and legal advice.

The employer is claiming this is a personal matter and is not open to discussion as to the future of the business. I can understand their reluctance, but 50 or so people are at their mercy. Am I blowing this out of proportion? Making a mountain out of a mole hill? Beating a dead horse? ......

I'll just suggest that the best time to look for a job is when you don't need one.

Rule Your Retirement Home Fool
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