Fighting IRS Debt Collectors: 6 Common Questions about Wage Levies

How much can the IRS take out of my paycheck?
The IRS does what is called an income and lifestyle analysis. They look up how much your allowable "basic" living expenses on a Wage Garnishment Table and then take the rest of your gross income. You could take home as little as $791 a month.

Can my boss refuse to levy my check?
He/She can, but your boss is probably aware of what will happen if he/she won't comply. The IRS expects their money, and if your boss decides to stand up to them on your behalf, they take the money from your boss. This would probably prompt the IRS to put the business through an audit as well.

How can I get a wage levy removed?
Enter into an arrangement to handle the debt with the IRS. There are several possible programs you can enter into to handle your IRS debt. The one that seems to work for most situations is entering into a payment plan. However, the IRS will try to use your current wage levy situation to pressure you into unaffordable payments. Talk to a tax professional to make sure that you get the agreement that will work best for you.

Will the IRS leave me enough money to live on?
That depends on how much you feel like you need to "live on." The IRS will leave you with enough to cover the most basic expenses: food, clothes, utilities, and that's about all. The IRS does not consider credit card payments to be basic, so if you're in credit card debt, the IRS wage levy can make your life very hard.

If the IRS has already levied my wages, do they still take out the regular taxes on my paycheck?
Yes, they do. In fact, your wage levy comes out first, and then your regular taxes are taken out of what's left over. If you're already getting levied for 50% of your gross pay, and then the IRS takes out your regular taxes, your net pay will only be about 30% of what it should be.

I'm an independent contractor and don't get a regular wage. Is there something like a wage levy that they can hit me with?
Absolutely. They can levy any money you make from a job. In addition, the IRS can go to your clients and demand payment directly from them before you get paid, which could damage your business' reputation.