The Internal Revenue Service has released $3.1 million in tax liens against payroll processing and human resources companies controlled by West Des Moines businessman John Vratsinas in recent weeks.

According to records on the Iowa secretary of state's website, the majority of the tax liens, filed after the companies failed to pay payroll taxes they had collected from other businesses, were released in late January.

Vratsinas' tax woes came to light last year after the IRS contacted clients of Vratsinas' professional employer organization, InFocus Partners, and said they could be liable for taxes that had not been paid on their behalf.

InFocus Partners provides a variety of services for businesses, including paying payroll taxes and handling workers' compensation claims.

InFocus Partners' parent company is Iowa Construction Logistics Inc., created in 2001 to lease employees to John Vratsinas Commercial Contractors Inc. Vratsinas owned both companies. The construction company has changed names and, for the most part, is defunct after having a financial reorganization plan in federal bankruptcy court in June 2009.

In 2008, Iowa Construction Logistics spun off a company called ICL Staffing LLC, and expanded services from leasing employees to the construction industry to handling human resources for a broad range of businesses.

In December 2011, Vratsinas created ICL Staffing Inc. and registered it in the state of Delaware. At the time, InFocus Partners experienced a division of labor of sorts, with its payroll services handled by ICL Staffing LLC and ICL Staffing Inc. acting as a professional employer organization that offered a full range of human resources services.

According to the secretary of state records, Iowa Construction Logistics paid $271,178 in tax liabilities on Jan. 30. ICL Staffing LLC paid a total of nearly $2.9 million on Jan. 23 and Jan. 30. The majority of the lien releases were recorded last week on the secretary of state's website.

Last October, ICL Staffing Inc. and InFocus Partners paid nearly $1.2 million in tax liabilities.

All told, the companies have paid nearly $4.3 million in delinquent taxes since last fall.