Facing IRS wage garnishment is no joke. Unlike credit card companies or banks, the IRS doesn’t need to obtain a court order to garnish your wages. Instead, they send a notice to both you and your employer notifying you of their intent to garnish your wages, usually for non-payment of an outstanding tax debt.
The IRS will typically garnish your wages if all other attempts to collect on your tax debt have failed, especially if you haven’t responded to any of the IRS’s correspondence, or if you haven’t made a good-faith effort to repay your tax debt. Here are some tips on appealing your IRS wage garnishment:
You need to act quickly once you receive the Notice of Intent to Levy from the IRS. You have a 30-day grace period during which you can appeal. Don’t wait until the last minute. Take action the day you receive the notice. Call the IRS at the number shown on the letter. You can request an appeal if any of the following apply to you:
- You received the IRS notice while you are filing for bankruptcy
- The legal timeframe (statute of limitations) for the debt has expired
- You’ve already paid the IRS in full
- You were never given the chance to appeal the debt
- You qualify to file for innocent spouse relief
Use The Correct Form
You must use the proper form in order to file your appeal. You can find IRS Form 12153 (Request For A Collection Due Process or Equivalent Hearing) on the IRS website. This form will formally start your appeal process, so be sure to fill it out completely and accurately. It will need to be mailed directly to the division indicated on your Notice of Intent to Levy; you won’t be able to email it or fax it. Be sure to send it via certified mail with a return receipt.
File For Garnishment Exemption
If you feel you can’t afford to have your wages garnished by the IRS, you can file an appeal in court. You must provide documentation that supports your argument. The court will want to know about your total household income, the number of dependents you support, your fixed expenses (rent, mortgage, insurance, car payments, utilities, child/dependent care), any unique circumstances that prevent you from supporting yourself or your family, such as prolonged illness or permanent disability.
Be sure to bring the following to court:
- Income documentation: paystubs, 1099 forms, disability/public assistance award letters, copy of divorce decree showing or other document verifying child/spousal support income.
- Expenses: rent/mortgage statements, property tax statement (if you own your home), copies of utility bills, copies of car payment statements, child/dependent care receipts, student loan statements, and statements for any other fixed expenses you have.
If the court rules in your favor, it will order the IRS to release the garnishment order or levy.
If the thought of appealing an IRS wage garnishment is intimidating, you’re not alone. Most people elect to hire a tax professional who can walk them through the process, explain their rights, and represent them before the IRS. Appealing an IRS wage garnishment can be a long, complicated and confusing process. You must be able to follow the IRS’s strict appeals protocol to the letter if you want a favorable outcome. A qualified tax pro can make sure everything is taken care of, down to even the smallest detail.
Facing an IRS wage garnishment is a stressful experience. While you do have the option to file for an appeal and to seek a court order to release the garnishment(levy), hiring a tax pro is your best defense. A qualified tax advisor can file the appeal on your behalf, walk you through the appeals process and make sure your taxpayer rights are upheld.
If you’re facing an IRS wage garnishment, we can help. Get started today by clicking the white “start chat” button on the top of the page, or by giving us a call. You don’t have to go it alone.