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How To Fight Wage Garnishments, Bank Levies and IRS Tax Liens

Posted on 29, Apr, 2013

There are a number of reasons why you might wind up having your salary garnished each week or with each pay period, or have your bank account levied by the IRS or other tax authorities.  Regardless of the cause if you feel this process is unfair or unjust then you'll need to take steps to have the garnishing of your salary reversed as well as stopping the bank levy process. There are a number of ways for you to do this and we've listed the most popular ones here, in no particular order.

Consult an Attorney or Accountant

As much as the Internet can be a major resource for finding all kinds of useful information it can also lead you astray when it comes to legal and accounting matters. Your first step in dealing with these matters, including wage garnishments, bank levies, tax liens and other IRS and tax authority matters is to get professional legal and accounting advice as soon as you can.

State Regulations

The legality of garnishing your salary will vary from state to state so it's important that you do your due diligence here and check to see if garnishing of your salary, levying your funds, or imposing tax liens are legal in the state you live in. Coupled with the fact that the regulations controlling the garnishing of wages vary from state to state, it's well worth your while checking into the local and State regulations in relation to this process.


Sometimes a simple letter of appeal to the judge who was involved in the issuing of the order to have your wages garnished might be enough. Please do bear in mind that you'll need facts and figures to back up the reason why you can't afford to have your wages garnished, so make sure that if and when you do send an appeal to the judge involved that you include a full breakdown of your income and expenditures, including back up documentation. A more professional version of submitting your personal financial statements would be via IRS Form 433-A. You should consult with your legal advisor or accountant on this.

File An Exemption

If you genuinely feel and can prove that garnishing your wages or funds is preventing you from being able to maintain an adequate standard of living then you can file an exemption with the court also. Again you will need to provide a detailed breakdown of your monthly expenses and if the request for an exemption is granted the garnishing will stop almost immediately.

Negotiate With Creditor

If this is a debtor-creditor issue, you have the option of negotiating directly with your creditor or collector to come to a mutually acceptable monthly payment. Alternatively there are attorney’s and debt settlement firms who can do this on your behalf.

File For Bankruptcy

There will be some situations where you simply cannot afford to pay your debts and maintain a basic standard of living at the same time, and in those cases declaring bankruptcy can be a wise move to make. Obviously seek legal counsel before you do this but at least with bankruptcy you're taking control of your debt and how it's repaid instead of leaving it in the hands of other potentially less scrupulous people. It’s advised to seek legal counsel and wouldn’t hurt speaking with your accountant on how your financial situation would apply here.

As you can see you have several options when it comes to fighting back against a wage garnishments, bank levies and tax liens but again the first step should also be to get legal and accounting advice on the matter. 

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