Wage Garnishment Orders: What Are Your Options?

In order to satisfy an IRS tax debt, the IRS has the right to take a portion of your wages or any other income until the outstanding balance is paid in full. This wage garnishment order may leave you with very little to pay your bills and can amount to almost half of your gross monthly income.

Is It a Done Deal?

Before the IRS can dock your wages, it must first send you a “Notice and Demand for Payment.” If this demand is not met, the IRS must send you a “Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing” (known as a levy notice) which allows you to make payment in full within 30 days from the final notice date to pay or to find another tax solution. If payment is not made within this time and no resolution offered, the IRS will give no further notice and will file a wage garnishment order with your employer whereas seizure of your wages and other assets will get underway.

Your Right to Appeal

The IRS plays tough when they decide to garnish your wages. Generally, your income is garnished, and that includes government benefits like your social security. The garnishment will not go away unless:

  • the tax debt is paid in full,
  • a financial hardship is found,
  • a payment plan or offer in compromise is being considered by the IRS or
  • you declare bankruptcy.

You have some rights in the wage garnishment process, but in most states like California, it’s up to you to be aware of and exercise these rights.

  • You have to be legally notified of the garnishment.
  • You can dispute it if the notice from the IRS contains incorrect information or you believe you are not responsible for the debt.
  • Some types of income, such as Social Security and veterans benefits, may be exempt from garnishment as income. However, they could be subject to seizure once they are in your bank account.
  • You can’t be fired for having one wage garnishment, but you’ll lose this protection if you rack up more than one garnishment.

If you think the judgment was made in error or it’s causing undue harm to your finances, you can challenge the garnishment.

To stop wage garnishment in California, a tax relief lawyer must assess your financial situation and develop a plan to determine the best tax resolution for you by either settling your IRS tax debt through the IRS Offer in Compromise Program or by negotiating an affordable payment plan. It is critical that your California wage garnishment is stopped by an experienced tax attorney to avoid a tax levy on your wages. Contact Delia Law today for a no cost consultation for tax resolution.