The wage garnishment amount isn’t based on a percentage of your wages or a maximum amount that can be garnished. The IRS is only limited by the amount of your wages it must leave you with.
In other words, the more you make, the more the IRS can take.
Wage Exemption Amount
Your wage exemption amount is determined using Publication 1494. Only three factors will be considered when calculating your exempt wages:
- Filing status
- Number of dependents
- Whether you are at least 65 years old and/or blind
The exemption table does not consider other factors that can significantly impact a person’s financial situation, such as the cost of living in their city, how much student loan debt they have, or whether they pay spousal or child support. You can claim an exemption for court-ordered child support, but then you won’t be able to claim that child as a dependent for the exemption amount.
A single taxpayer with no dependents would be left with $1,000 per month after an IRS wage garnishment. A married taxpayer filing jointly who has two dependents would get to keep $2,691.66 of their wage each month.
Wage levies are continuous, so you will need to survive off of your exempt wages until the full balance of your unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest is paid off.
Bonuses and Second Jobs
If you earn several times the exempt wages amount each month, you’ll be disappointed to see the IRS take home more of your wages than you do. But what if you don’t earn that much? You may not find the wage garnishment that painful, but they are still some good reasons to work out a payment arrangement and eliminate the wage levy.
First, any bonus or commission you receive above the exempt amount can be entirely seized by the IRS. You won’t even get to see a penny from your holiday bonus check.
You may also need to think twice about getting a second job. The IRS has the option of allocating your exemption to one employer and seizing 100% of your wages from another employer. So if you’ve been thinking of becoming a rideshare driver or taking on some side gigs, all of that money might end up in the hands of the IRS.
Taxpayers with higher incomes may see much higher take-home wages by entering an IRS installment agreement when compared to a wage garnishment. Your exact figures will depend on your income, unpaid balance, and other factors.
Consult a tax attorney to get help with IRS wage garnishments and tax relief.
Get help settling your tax debt by calling The Gartzman Law Firm at (770) 939-7710. We can help you protect your wages and find a creative solution to your tax problems.