Garnishments are levies automatically deducted from wages, salary, commissions, or other payments for personal services, and applied to the tax liability. A garnishment does not need to be served each time you are paid. Once you are served a garnishment, the garnishment continues until your tax debt is paid in full or other arrangements are made to satisfy the debt, or the time period for collecting expires.
The IRS can also levy or garnish the following direct payments:
- Social Security benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act (OASDI)
- Federal retirement annuity income from the Office of Personnel Management
- Federal contractor/vendor payments, or
- Federal employee salary and travel payments.
The government usually garnishes only when the following three conditions have occurred:
- The government assessed the tax and sent you a Notice and Demand for Payment
- You neglected or refused to pay the tax, and
- The government sent you a Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to A Hearing (levy notice) at least 30 days before the levy. The government usually sends this notice to your last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested, but they may give this notice to you in person, or leave it at your home or your usual place of business.