What Can I Do If the IRS Garnishes My Wages?

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If the IRS chooses to play hardball over an outstanding tax debt or other tax-related problem that you've made no attempt to address, your wages may be garnished. It is very important for you to be aware of your rights and to know your options if the IRS garnishes your wages, as it makes more sense to work out a solution with the IRS rather than allow them to continue taking money from your paycheck.

One of the harshest ways for the IRS to punish for delinquent taxpayers is to garnish their wages. It is a popular misconception that the IRS can seize only your assets - financial accounts, real estate, automobile, etc.; however, the IRS retains the authority to take money out of each one of your paychecks until your debt has been paid in full.

Here are some recommended steps to follow if the IRS has garnished your wages:

  1. File your back taxes. By law, the IRS cannot get rid of a levy if there are missing tax returns. For this reason, you need to be 100 percent sure that all of your returns have been filed and are in the possession of the IRS.

  2. Determine how much you owe. Finding out how much you owe the IRS can be scary but simply cannot be avoided. This goes hand-in-hand with step number one: you won't know how much you owe until every one of your tax return has been filed.

  3. Pay your back taxes. Once your tax debt has been paid off, the IRS will stop garnishing your wages. There are a number of different ways to pay back taxes, including paying in full, setting up an installment agreement or submitting an offer in compromise. If you can prove yourself eligible, you may also want to consider requesting to be placed under "currently not collectible" status. If the IRS agrees with your plea, they will immediately release the levy for a time period of between six to 12 months. It is important to keep in mind, though, that this is only a temporary measure.

The law mandates that the IRS send you a final notice prior to garnishing your wages. If you receive a final notice from the IRS then you should act fast, because the longer you wait to take action, the greater the chance of your wages being garnished.

Wage Garnishment Topics & Help


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