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How Much Can the IRS Take in a Wage Garnishment?

IRS Wage Garnishment

The IRS is required to leave you with a minimum amount of monthly income when your wages are being garnished.  The remaining funds will be seized and applied to your tax debt until your balance is paid off or the wage levy is released.


Key Insights We Will Discuss:

  1.  How the amount of a wage garnishment is calculated
  2. How bonuses, commissions, and other payments are treated in a wage garnishment.
  3. What to do to prevent or eliminate a wage garnishment.


IRS Wage Garnishment Calculation

A certain amount of every individual’s wages is exempt from IRS levy.  This exemption is calculated based on your filing status and how many dependents you claim.

A single person with no dependents will be left with $1,033.33 each month.  A Head of Household with two dependents would receive $2,270.83 after the IRS levy.

The remainder of your paycheck will be applied towards your tax debt. Wage levies  are continuous, so the wage garnishment will continue every pay period until your balance is paid or the levy is released by the IRS.

Bonuses and Commissions

If you receive a bonus or commission, the IRS can seize 100% of these amounts.  If you have more than one source of income, the IRS can allocate your exemption amounts to a single income source and levy 100% of your income from another source.

Wage Garnishment Alternatives

If you have a low income, the IRS may not receive much from a wage garnishment.  However, you should keep in mind that if you get a raise or a second job, the extra funds may all go to the IRS.

Taxpayers with higher incomes can end up paying thousands per month due to a wage garnishment.  If you negotiate a monthly installment agreement, you could significantly reduce the amount you are required to pay each month.

You can also request that a levy be released if it is causing an immediate financial hardship.  You’ll need to provide specific proof of the financial problems the levy is causing, such as a utility shut-off notice.  The IRS may agree to release the levy, but you’ll still be responsible for paying back your tax debt.

Contact an Attorney

Like the Ayar Law Facebook page to learn more about tax resolution or call us at 800-571-7175 to get free, no-obligation legal advice about your tax matter.


Executive Summary:

— A minimum amount of your income is exempt from seizure, but the IRS can garnish all of your wages above this amount every pay period.

— You can avoid a wage garnishment by negotiating an installment agreement or requesting a release due to immediate financial hardship.

— Contact Ayar Law to get free, no-obligation tax advice 800.571.7175


Venar Ayar, Esq.

Venar Ayar, Esq.

Attorney-at-Law, Master of Laws in Taxation
Principal and founder, Ayar Law

Venar is an award-winning tax attorney ranked as a Top Lawyer in the field of Tax Law. Mr. Ayar has a Master of Laws in Taxation – the highest degree available in tax, held by only a small number of the country’s attorneys.