March 07, 2024

What You Can Do About Wage Garnishment

You log into your bank account, excited to see your paycheck finally come through, and to your horror—it’s less than half of what you were expecting. This is the reality for those who are slapped with a wage garnishment.
When the IRS garnishes your wages, feelings of fear and panic are common. Discovering your income has been cut in half overnight can be devastating, but there are ways to proceed that can see you restoring your income and ensuring your family has everything they need.
Wage garnishment isn’t unusual; millions of Americans see their wages garnished each year thanks to delinquent tax bills.
Whether your wage garnishment has resulted from your inability to pay your bill or there were mistakes made in your tax returns, it’s important to work quickly and efficiently to get yourself out of trouble with the IRS.

What You Can Do About Wage Garnishment : eAskme
What You Can Do About Wage Garnishment : eAskme

A Long Road to Garnishment:

Wage garnishment doesn’t occur out of the blue. If your income has been seized, you’ve likely received a plethora of warnings from the IRS. The government agency doesn’t seize wages until their initial efforts to receive payment for overdue tax debts are ignored.
The IRS sends a Final Notice of Intent to Levy at least 30 days before actually approaching your employer. If you’ve just realized your income has been garnished, your first priority is to speak with your employer and request a copy of this notice.

Your Job is Safe:

It can be embarrassing to have your wages garnished, but your employer cannot legally take action against you due to this occurrence.
The Consumer Credit Protection Act protects individuals from job dismissal, meaning your employer cannot fire you based on a wage levy alone.

Decrease Your Levy in the Meantime:

While you attempt to cancel the wage garnishment completely, do what you can to decrease the amounts of your wages the IRS can take from you.
You may choose to adjust your dependents; the more dependents you have, the less of your income the government can take. Your best shot at decreasing the levy amount is calling the number listed on your notices as soon as possible.
The sooner you show efforts to get the situation settled and your debt paid, the more lenient the IRS is likely to be.

Disposable Income Concerns:

As you begin your negotiations, the IRS will ask you to present an estimated disposable income, which they will likely counter. This number is bound to be much higher than you consider fair or feasible.
The amount they’ll ask you to pay each month is likely not sustainable for an extended period of time. In severe but extremely rare cases, wage levies have been dismissed for those who don’t have a viable monthly disposable income.

What You Can Do:

If you can prove that you can’t pay off your debt in a reasonable amount of time, or at all, there are a couple of ways you can settle with the government:

Installment Agreements: If you owe the IRS less than $50,000, you can ask the government to gran you an installment agreement. These help you avoid expensive penalty fees. These can be hard to achieve, but there are tax resolution companies with expertise in installment agreement requests.
Check out the Community Tax payment plans and determine if this type of agreement is the best route for your circumstances.

Offer in Compromise:

If you’ll never be able to pay off your debt in full, you may apply for an offer in compromise. This is a negotiation that will forgive a portion of your debt. The IRS only approves such a request when they believe they’ll never get the full balance back; they want to get as much as they can from you.
Getting an offer in compromise approved is a challenge, and most find they can’t receive approval without the help of a financial advisor, tax accountant, or other professional.

Wage garnishment is scary, but it’s not a life sentence. Consider your options for resolving this issue and start on the path to a healthy financial future.