How to Avoid Wage Garnishment

Wage Garnishment

When the 2008 recession hit, millions of Americans were impacted. Many of those people are still drowning in debt and struggling to recover. Unfortunately, because debt-related issues can be very overwhelming and stressful, people elect to ignore their debt. Ignoring outstanding debt of any kind is never a wise decision. It can lead to actions by the IRS that can negatively affect you like Wage Garnishment.

When you ignore credit debt, you are subject to deal with debt collectors and private agencies. However, when you ignore tax debt, you deal directly with the Internal Revenue Service. If you owe a significant amount of tax debt, chances are you have received letters, notices and calls from the Internal Revenue Service.

While these letters and calls may seem stressful and unpleasant, they are just one of many methods the IRS uses to collect tax debt. In some cases, if you do not pay your tax liabilities, the IRS has the right to garnish your wages directly from your employer.

A wage garnishment is a legal process in which a portion of your earnings is withheld by your employer for the collection of debt. Under the Consumer Credit Protection Act, employers are prohibited from letting employees go because of wage garnishment issues. This act also limits the amount of an employee’s earnings that may be garnished.

Unlike other debt, if you owe tax debt, the IRS can garnish your wages without getting a judgment. They can also take more of your earnings than regular creditors. However, wage garnishment is expensive and time-consuming, so it is often the last resort. In order to avoid wage garnishments, you should contact the IRS early on to take advantage of one of the various payment options offered by the agency.


When you file your tax returns, you either receive a refund or you owe money. If the amount is manageable, you likely write a check for the full amount owed and send it to the IRS with your tax return. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to pay the amount in full all at once. If you are unable to pay in full, you’ll need to explore other options.

Set Up a Payment Plan 

The IRS offers monthly payment plans called installment agreements. An installment agreement is an agreement between the IRS and the taxpayer to pay down the debt in smaller, more manageable payments over time. As long as the payments are made in full and on time, the IRS will not levy your wages.

In order to be eligible for an installment agreement, you must be in compliance with certain tax obligations including filing, federal tax deposits and withholdings. If you meet the requirements and opt for a payment plan, it is very important to get the IRS to agree to a payment amount that is fair and affordable. This way you can keep the agreement without a high risk of defaulting.


Another option to consider is an offer-in-compromise. An offer-in-compromise is an agreement between the IRS and the taxpayer to settle the debt for less than the amount owed. You must meet certain compliance and eligibility requirements in order to qualify for this type of tax settlement. The requirements are strict and the IRS only accepts offers under limited conditions.

If you think you might qualify for an offer-in-compromise, it is strongly recommended that you work with a tax resolution specialist. Landmark Tax Group is very familiar with the process and can properly analyze your financial situation to see if an offer-in-compromise is right for you. If we find that it is, we can assist you in preparing and submitting your paperwork.

Seek Tax Relief

If the IRS has contacted you and they are threatening to garnish your wages, you have the option to seek relief from a tax resolution specialist. As one of our clients said:

“[Landmark Tax Group president] Michael was incredibly helpful assisting me with both State and IRS tax issues. He was always available to discuss my questions as well as giving me a strategy I could understand and was best for my situation. I would highly recommend Michael & Landmark Tax Group.”

– Michael M., San Marino, California

When you work with Landmark Tax Group, we create a customized strategy to address the IRS issue and keep you from ever being in a situation where your wages are garnished. We’re reliable, prompt in addressing all tax issues right away, and dedicated to quickly securing relief for our clients by utilizing the Tax Code and IRS procedures on their behalf.

Regardless of which option you choose, full payment, an installment agreement, or offer-in-compromise, you must do something.  If you do nothing, the IRS will begin the collection process and may issue a wage garnishment or begin other enforcement actions Contact a tax resolution specialist to help determine which option is right for you.

The IRS Collection Process

Before the IRS begins the collection process, you will receive a notice. In general, the IRS cannot garnish your wages without giving you notice and providing you the opportunity to make payment arrangements. The process begins with a written notice stating the amount you owe. The notice will break down the charges into tax, penalties and interest owed. It will also provide a due date for the entire balance.

If you do not pay in full or contact the IRS, they will determine the most effective way to force you to pay. This could include seizing your assets, placing liens on your property, taking future refunds and garnishing your wages.

Wage Garnishment – What to do if they happen?

Remember, wage garnishment is often the last resort if you have ignored all other attempts to address the tax debt. If your wages have been garnished, let Landmark Tax Group help.

As your tax representative, we will work directly with the IRS to request an immediate release of the wage garnishment. We are able to resolve most situations quickly by providing the IRS with the needed documentation to address their concerns. If the IRS refuses to release the wage garnishment, we will prepare and submit a formal appeal. In addition to this, we will represent you in front of the Appeals Division.

Our goal is to get you on good terms with the IRS and provide you with a solution you can afford in order to get a fresh start. As former IRS Officers and Auditors we know how the IRS works and how to protect you and your assets. Request a confidential no-obligation consultation today (see below).

Not only are we licensed Tax Relief Specialists, we are also former Senior IRS Agents that now serve the best interests of taxpayers like you – all we do is handle IRS Tax Relief matters, all day every day.

  Learn how we can help with your tax matter. Visit our Help Menu today for immediate assistance from our Licensed Enrolled Agents and former IRS Collectors. We look forward to serving you!

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