The "responsible person" penalty is imposed pursuant to 26 U.S.C. S 6672: Any person required to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over any tax imposed by this title who willfully fails to collect such tax, or truthfully account for and pay over such tax, . . . shall . . . be liable to a penalty equal to the total amount of the tax . . . not collected, or not accounted for and paid over.The IRS may recover a section 6672 penalty only if it shows that the individual (1) was a "responsible person " and (2) acted willfully in failing to collect or pay over withheld taxes. Davis v. United States, 961 F.2d 867, 869-70 (9th Cir. 1992).A person is responsible for the payment of trust fund taxes for purposes of the section 6672 penalty if he had the "final word on which bills should or should not be paid." Maggy v. United States, 560 F.2d 1372, 1374 (9th Cir. 1977). The "final word" "does not mean `final' but instead `the authority required to exercise significant control over the corporation's financial affairs, regardless of whether[the individual] exercises such control in fact.'" United States v. Jones, 33 F.3d 1137, 1139 (9th Cir. 1994)
See also Alsheskie v. United States, 31 F.3d 837, 839 (9th Cir. 1994). A person who does all he can to cause taxes to be paid, and whose efforts are rejected by those with more control, is not a "responsible person."