Among the many government agencies, the IRS may be the one people vilify most. After all, when a large percentage of your paycheck disappears before you even earn it, it’s difficult not to have hard feelings about it. While you know the good things that are accomplished with your tax money, you also know there are many good things you can do with that money on your own.
Your opinion of the IRS has not improved since you fell behind on your taxes. If you owe the government money, you should be careful not to think of it as just another bill. The IRS has authorities that other creditors do not, and they will claim what you owe even if they have to garnish your wages.
Facing the truth
Wage garnishment is nothing new, and many creditors use it to collect delinquent debts. However, the IRS has privileges these other creditors do not. For example, the government can take a much higher percentage of your pay, and it does not need a court order to garnish your wages. Nevertheless, the IRS will not simply swoop in and snatch your paycheck. You will have plenty of warning and time to take steps to stop the garnishment.
When you are behind on bills, the mail carrier is not your friend. It is tempting to let the unopened envelopes pile up to avoid the discouraging warnings inside. However, those warnings may give you information about ways you can deal with the debt. There are several options available for those who are struggling to pay their taxes:
- Ask the IRS for an installment plan.
- Find out if you qualify for the IRS Offer in Compromise program to settle your debt for a lower amount.
- Apply for uncollectable status if paying the delinquent taxes will create a financial hardship for you.
- Appeal the levy to stall the garnishment process.
You may decide to simply let the garnishment happen. It will only last until the debt is satisfied, and you may even be able to find extra income to move it along faster. However, if you are already struggling with your finances, this may create an even greater hardship.
As intimidating as the envelopes are that arrive in the mail, dealing with IRS agents may be even more overwhelming. For this reason, many in your situation find peace of mind in the assistance of a California legal professional with experience in tax law. The sooner you know what is inside those unopened envelopes, the sooner you can seek guidance to help you resolve the matter.