What You Should Know About Wage Garnishments

close up of a stack of mailWhen you have a tax debt to the IRS, they can seek to resolve it in a number of ways. As with any IRS action, you will be notified of their intentions beforehand and be given a window in which to take preventative actions, but financial circumstances vary from person to person, so the actual collections process may vary similarly. One collection action the IRS may take to resolve your debt is that of garnishing your wages. This entails a portion of your paycheck being withheld by your employer at a creditor’s order, and paid towards your outstanding debt, until it is fully paid off.

You can be subjected to wage garnishment for reasons beyond tax debt. Consumer and student loan debts make for equally viable circumstances, as does child support. In some cases, wage garnishment can be mandated by a court order, but it often is not. Whatever the case may be, it is almost always required that you receive legal notification about any intent to garnish your wages, which gives you the opportunity to dispute it if you believe you do not owe the corresponding debt. Furthermore, there is a cap on how much of your pay can be garnished in a given timeframe, and it varies by circumstance. And while you cannot be fired on account of a singular garnishment status, that protection does not extend to those being garnished for multiple debts.

As with other collection actions, wage garnishment does not stop until the corresponding debt is fully paid, along with any extra costs such as penalties and interest. If a tax-related wage garnishment is causing you trouble, or you believe that you cannot pay your debt in full, a professional tax service can help you decide the best move to make next.