Though it may seem somewhat unsavory to some in concept alone, wage garnishment is in fact anything but. Rather, it is something of a last resort, and more than anything else it is a largely protective measure. A great many of us know firsthand how debts can compound and multiply. If you’ve been in a similar situation you might know how overwhelming or even paralyzing it can feel. Often in a crisis, feelings of hopelessness can override all others, causing the sufferer to shut down and not address the problem at all, even though there might be a perfectly viable solution lying just outside the visibility of their emotionally-skewed comprehension. This is where wage garnishment comes in.
WHY DOES WAGE GARNISHMENT OCCUR?
In almost every case an employees wages are garnished as a last resort. Basically, if you’re behind on taxes, bills or other government-regulated debts you are in danger of having your salary temporarily reduced. Essentially, if a debt has been outstanding for a long enough period of time and not enough progress has been made to assuage the concerns of one’s debtors then they might seek compensation through a route less subject to human error. If their claim is accepted they will go on to simply claim some of the capital you owe by commandeering a portion of your paycheck
AM I AT RISK FOR RECEIVING GARNISHED WAGES?
If you are you shouldn’t have to ask. One is made to endure wage garnishment only after they have been given repeated warnings. You will be notified a great many times before a step as invasive as wage garnishment is taken. In almost all cases a court order must be acquired before the process is even allowed to begin. On top of all of this, employers will generally warn any and all employees who will be receiving garnished wages before their first reduced paycheck is sent out.
ARE THERE REGULATIONS?
Absolutely. To begin with, an employee’s disposable income is calculated. This amount represents the employee’s take home salary, with deductions made for various taxes and other government-based expenditures. There are two ways the amount you actually owe is calculated. One is simple, with 25% of your disposable earnings being taken. The other is a bit more complex: your disposable income – 30X the federal minimum wage = the amount paid. Fairly, the government will not allow the amount one “pays” through garnishment to exceed the lesser amount which is determined through these two figures. The one exception to this rule involves overdue child support and/or alimony which can result in 50-60% of your wages being garnished.
Here at AFS Taxsavers, we understand that wage garnishment can be a sensitive issue. Let us make sure it’s done properly. We’ll ensure that the proper amount of wages are garnished with each paycheck and that the whole situation can be resolved as soon as possible.