Like other debt collectors, the Internal Revenue Service has a process by which it can garnish an Illinois taxpayer’s wages and divert those wages to offset delinquent taxes. Unless the taxpayer makes other arrangements, the wage levy will continue until the taxes get paid.
With its wage levy process, however, the IRS enjoys special rights that other debt collectors do not. For instance, the IRS does not actually have to go to court to get a court order allowing a garnishment of wages. All they need do is send a taxpayer’s employer the appropriate paperwork, and the employer will have to comply.
Also, a typical garnishment order is generally capped in that a creditor can only take a certain amount from the debtor’s paycheck. This is not the case when it comes to a wage levy. With respect to a wage levy, all the IRS needs to do is leave a certain minimum amount of take home pay available for the taxpayer to meet his or her basic needs.
This minimum amount is not much. By way of example, a single person with no children will only get to keep $1,016.67 a month, at least as of 2019. This translates in to a little more than $12,000 a year, which, when one thinks about it, is not much even for one person to live off.
A resident of the greater Chicago area who is facing an IRS wage levy or other federal collection efforts may want to go over his or her options with an attorney and do so sooner rather than later. By way of example, attempting to compromise may save the person the trouble of having to figure out how to live without most of his or her employment income.