Wage Garnishment in Los Angeles
& Finding a Wage Garnishment Lawyer
If you did not file your taxes properly and owe back taxes to the IRS or the Comptroller of California, don’t wait to get control of the situation. You could face significant penalties with far-reaching consequences. Both the IRS and the Comptroller of California have numerous methods they can employ to seek repayment of unpaid tax debt, some of which can be devastating to a taxpayer’s individual financial situation.
An experienced tax attorney is a tremendous asset if you have received Notice and Demand for Payment from the IRS or the Comptroller of California. They can be your first line of defense against aggressive debt collection tactics. Depending on the amount you owe and your record of filings and correspondence with these agencies, you could face severe collection action, including wage garnishment.
What Is Wage Garnishment?
Wage garnishment is a debt collection vehicle the IRS or the Comptroller of California 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 California 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 California 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 California 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 Los Angeles taxpayers because they do not expect how much the IRS or the Comptroller of California 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 Los Angeles, California
Both the IRS and the Comptroller of California 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 California 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 California. Our team has extensive experience providing wage garnishment help in Los Angeles, California, and can thoroughly assess your options.
California-Specific Tax Laws
California residents are subject to some of the highest taxes in the nation. The same applies to businesses operating in the state or people living outside of California but earning income from the state.
There are four main types of taxes in California:
- State income tax. For state tax in California, the tax rate for those filing as a married couple range from 1% to 12.3%, depending on the income bracket. If you make under $18,650, you are only required to pay 1% of your income in state taxes. However, the other end of the spectrum imposes a 12.3% tax rate on annual salaries of $1,250,739 or higher. There is also a 1% mental health service tax that is imposed on anyone making more than a million dollars a year.
- Local tax. At the local level, the amount you pay locally depends on the county and city in which you reside. There are a total of 58 counties in California, each with its own tax rate. For example, in El Dorado County, the tax rate is 0.25%, while in Orange County, the tax rate is also 0.25%, but with an additional 1.5% added in for local school taxes.
- Corporate tax. The corporate tax rate in California is 8.84%, which is higher than average nationally. These taxes are imposed on the majority of businesses, regardless of whether they are based in California or operate in the state.
Sales tax. In terms of sales tax, there is a statewide rate of 7.25%, which is again higher than average. However, some areas have rates as high as 10%. These taxes are generally imposed on retail items. Residents and shoppers of the state do get relief from sales tax on some essential items, such as no tax on groceries and prescription drugs, as well as reduced tax rates on clothing, prepared food, and over-the-counter medications.