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What do you need to know about wage garnishment?

If you owe federal or Washington state taxes, you should take your debt seriously and try to make arrangements to repay it. If you do not, the tax agency involved could have your wages garnished. According to FindLaw, wage garnishment occurs when a court or government agency requires your employer to withhold a portion of your earnings in order to satisfy a debt. Garnishment of your wages can take place to satisfy other obligations than tax debts, such as alimony, child support and debts owed to the federal government but not related to taxes. 

Wage garnishment can be a frustrating situation, but you should know that there are limits in place on the amount of money that can be withheld from your paycheck. The amount of wage garnishment that can occur is often expressed as a percentage of your disposable earnings, i.e., the money that remains after your employer makes deductions for Social Security, taxes and any other deductions required by law. The percentage of your disposable earnings subject to withholding depends on the reason for the garnishment. 

The Consumer Credit Protection Act that limits the amount of garnishment also prevents your employer from firing you from your job on the basis of wage garnishment for only one debt. However, if you owe two or more debts requiring separate garnishments, the law does not prohibit your employer from dismissing you. 

If you have questions or issues regarding your garnishment other than the amount withheld, you should take them up with the agency or court that initiated the action rather than your employer.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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