How Does Income Garnishment Work?

The IRS always gets what it’s owed, one way or another. If you owe back taxes to the IRS and you do not set up a payment plan with them, it’s likely that your wages will be garnished. When this happens, the IRS seizes a set amount of your income every pay period before it even hits your bank account. While this does take care of your debt, it can also leave you with little to get by on from check to check.

Learn more about IRS garnishments, how they may affect you, and how long you can expect garnishments to continue. For more personalized advice regarding your tax problems, call Robert V. Boeshaar at 206-488-1979.

Notification of Garnishment

If you’re anxiously waiting for the IRS to come knocking at your door, know that you will get advance notice if they plan on garnishing your wages. Before they can take a portion of your wages, they will send you a Demand for Payment. This gives you the chance to pay your back taxes before they garnish your wages. After that, they will send a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and a Notice of Your Right to a Hearing. If those letters are ignored, they can garnish your wages once 30 days have passed since the documents were sent.

How Much Can They Take?

The IRS outlines garnishment limitations on Publication 1494, which specifies how much income is exempt from garnishment based on your dependents and filing status. For example, a single person with one child may keep up to $667.31 of their biweekly pay in 2022. Anything above that is subject to garnishment. Taxpayers who are blind or at least 65 have an additional amount exempt from garnishment.

Note that you can appeal the decision to garnish your wages. You have 30 days from the date that they send the Final Notice of Intent to Levy to request an appeal.

When Garnishments End

Generally, the IRS will continue garnishing your wages until your past due balance is completely paid off. There are some circumstances in which they must stop garnishments early. Garnishments may end if they did not give you enough time to respond to the Final Notice of Intent to Levy, the time period to collect your income taxes expired prior to the garnishment, they are evaluating an installment plan, or you declare bankruptcy.

Social Security Garnishments

If you receive Social Security benefits, you should get to keep a much larger percentage of your income. If the IRS garnishes you under the Federal Payment Levy Program, 15% of your benefits are automatically applied to your back taxes. This program is only utilized for those receiving old age or survivors’ benefits. If they garnish your Social Security benefits manually, they decide how much you need for living expenses and garnish the rest. This amount changes annually, so you should discuss your situation with a tax attorney to help you prepare accordingly.

Tackle Your Tax Problems With Robert V. Boeshaar
Before you get to the point of having your wages or disability benefits garnished, find out how a tax attorney can help you. At the Law Offices of Robert V. Boeshaar, we’re committed to helping taxpayers like you avoid run-ins with the IRS. Set up a consultation now by contacting us online or calling 206-488-1979.

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