Wage Garnishment in Bethesda
& Finding a Wage Garnishment Lawyer
What Is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a debt collection vehicle the IRS or the Comptroller of Maryland may enact against a taxpayer when the agency has notified the taxpayer of an unpaid debt but has been unable to pay it in full. Wage garnishment means the agency collecting a tax debt you hold takes a percentage of your paycheck. The agency filing for wage garnishment will coordinate with the taxpayer’s employer, who will deduct the approved garnishment amount from the employee’s paycheck until the employee has repaid their debt.
Typically when a creditor needs to pursue legal action against an insolvent debtor, they must obtain approval from the court to pursue wage garnishment. However, the IRS and the Comptroller of Maryland do not have to wait for the court’s permission. Once one of these agencies has initiated wage garnishment action against a taxpayer, it is very difficult for the taxpayer to have the garnishment lifted until their debt is paid in full.
Why Is Wage Garnishment Such a Severe Penalty?
Many different creditors can pursue wage garnishment against a debtor for an unpaid debt, but the court process required for most of them is lengthy. Generally, those in debt have some flexibility to pay the debt in question or securing an alternate resolution. Since the IRS and the Comptroller of Maryland do not need to meet this requirement, a taxpayer facing wage garnishment must act very quickly to challenge the garnishment determination or obtain release from the wage garnishment action.
Another key difference between government collection agencies and private creditors is the way these two types of parties calculate garnishments. Private creditors are beholden to state and federal laws, which restrict the amount they can deduct from a debtor’s pay. The IRS and the Comptroller of Maryland do not follow this formula for determining how much they may take and instead calculate how much a taxpayer may keep from each check. They determine their garnishment amount based on the taxpayer’s claimed W4 exemptions and paycheck frequency.
Wage garnishment is a major problem for many Bethesda taxpayers because they do not expect how much the IRS or the Comptroller of Maryland may take from each of their paychecks. It’s not uncommon for a taxpayer hit with wage garnishment for federal or state tax debts to be left with too little from their pay to afford basic living expenses. This can easily create a compounded financial disaster for the taxpayer, potentially even leading to further collection efforts from private creditors they are unable to pay.
Potential Remedies for Wage Garnishment in Bethesda, Maryland
Both the IRS and the Comptroller of Maryland are aggressive when pursuing wage garnishment. The process doesn’t take very long to start affecting your life if you are in this situation. One of the best things you can do when faced with wage garnishment for unpaid federal or state taxes is to contact an experienced tax attorney who can help you determine your options and the best available remedies for the situation.
You have the right to appeal a wage garnishment action against you at the state or federal level. There are also some alternate remedies available that may help you satisfy your tax debts without being subject to wage garnishment. However, attempting to pursue any of these options without an experienced legal advocate on your side is incredibly difficult. Navigating tax regulations is exceeding complex and subject to tight deadlines. An experienced tax attorney can help you pursue an appeal or alternative to wage garnishment quickly and effectively.
If you are unable to pay your tax debt in full to prevent wage garnishment, your tax attorney can potentially help you prove that you are experiencing legitimate financial hardship. Such a hardship would explain that it is impossible for you to repay your tax debt, qualifying you for “Currently Not Collectible” status. It’s also possible for your attorney to negotiate an Installment Agreement on your behalf, which allows you to repay your tax debt over time instead of paying a lump sum you cannot afford.
Another option is an Offer in Compromise, a legal procedure that could result in you settling your tax debt for less than you actually owe. Doing so is a complex process and subject to official review from the court, so it’s vital to have an attorney assist you in the creation of your Offer in Compromise to avoid potential criminal penalties for perjury if you leave out key information. Yet another potential solution is to declare bankruptcy, a process with which an experienced tax attorney may also assist.
Why You Should Find a Tax Attorney for Wage Garnishment Help
Do not wait when it comes to wage garnishment for unpaid taxes. Both the IRS and the Comptroller of Maryland pursue unpaid tax debts aggressively; the longer you wait, the more extensive the effects of the wage garnishment will be. Most people who have their wages garnished for unpaid taxes feel the effects for years.
Contact Delia Law today to schedule a consultation with an experienced tax attorney who can help you address your wage garnishment problems with the IRS or the Comptroller of Maryland. Our team has extensive experience providing wage garnishment help in Bethesda, Maryland, and can thoroughly assess your options.
Maryland-Specific Tax Laws
Maryland has a progressive tax system, which means the higher an individual’s income is, the higher the percentage they will pay in taxes. Maryland has special tax benefits for military retirees, lower income families, those paying for childcare, as well as for those aged 65 and older.
There are four types of taxes in Maryland:
- State income tax. The state tax rate for personal income tax begins at 2%. This is applied to anyone making under $1,000 per year in annual income. It increases up to 5.75% for anyone making over $250,000 annually. This is one of the lower state income tax rates in the United States.
- Local income tax. There is also a local income tax, which is levied by counties and cities. For convenience, these are withheld during income tax season by the state, and they vary based on the locality. For example, if you live in Allegany County, you paid a .0305 tax rate in 2021. This differs from residents of Baltimore County, who had a .0320 rate. It is important to note that this income is based on the county you live in, not where you work.
- Sales tax. With each purchase in Maryland of a good or service, a 6% sales tax is automatically applied. This does not include every purchase. Groceries, prescription drugs, and gasoline are a few examples of items not subject to sales tax. However, a business is required to collect a 9% tax on any alcoholic beverages sold.
- Property tax. You must pay property taxes in Maryland as well, and the tax rates vary by county. The average effective tax rate is 1.06%. While this might seem low, it is balanced by the high property values in the state. The median home value in Maryland is currently over $400,000 and varies based on proximity to the city of Maryland and other populated areas.