I could have worked for a company that used Axium for its payroll services, since they just declared Chapter 7, leaving many creditors (including the IRS) with questions about where all the money went.
Defamer has been covering the whole mess pretty well (with “Rhymes With Shmembezzelment” being one of my favorite tags they’ve ever used), but the story’s barely made a ripple with most of the local media.
Pseudonymous blogger Peggy Archer, who’s a lighting tech and way better at explaining this stuff to non-entertainment-industry people than I am, explains both what payroll companies are in Hollywood:
For tax and unemployment insurance purposes, when we work, we are technically employees of the payroll company instead of the production company. This is not a bad thing – it cuts down on the tax-season paperwork (16 W 2 forms instead of 138) and reduces instances of in-house rubber checkitis (back in the bad old days of tiny shows run by fly-by-night production companies, one would pick up one’s check at the office and then drive like a bat out of hell to the production company’s bank to cash it while there were hopefully still funds in the account. When everyone started using payroll companies, the checks, when they eventually arrived, were usually good).
…and the worst case scenario:
…although the taxes were deducted from my checks, as of right now there’s no way to know if I fall into the happy group who had the deducted monies actually paid to the gub’mint. Since I doubt the IRS cares that I had the money deducted, they’ll probably make me pay twice.
‘Cause that’s how the IRS rolls.
As fucked as I am being unemployed, I’d be super-duper fucked if I had to somehow magically come up with my taxes twice because some douchebag embezzled all the money from the payroll company that was supposed to KEEP me from getting fucked.
My deepest sympathy goes out to Peggy (or whatever her real name is) and everyone else in this town who’s about to have a real pleasant tax season because of these schmucks.