Information about wage levies

If the IRS levies (seizes) your wages, part of your wages will be sent to the IRS each pay period until:

  • You make other arrangements to pay your overdue taxes,
  • The amount of overdue taxes you owe is paid, or
  • The levy is released.

Part of your wages may be exempt from the levy and the exempt amount will be paid to you. The exempt amount is based on the standard deduction and an “amount determined” calculated in part based on the number of dependents you are allowed for the year the levy is served. The IRS mails Publication 1494 PDF with the levy which explains to your employer how to determine the amount exempt from levy. Your employer will provide you with a Statement of Dependents and Filing Status to complete and return within three days. If you do not return the statement in three days, your exempt amount is figured as if you are married filing separately with no dependents (zero). If you have other income sources, the IRS may allocate the exemptions to the other income source and levy on 100% of the income from a particular employer.

I am scheduled to receive a bonus separately from my paycheck. Is the bonus payment entitled to the same exemptions as the regular wage payment? Or, does the entire bonus get sent to the IRS because the exempt amount was already paid to me for that pay period?

The IRS would receive the entire bonus since the exempt amount is based on the time-period that your wages and bonus are paid. For wage levy purposes, the term salary or wages includes compensation for services paid in the form of fees, commissions, bonuses and similar items.

I pay child support directly to my ex-spouse and not through my employer. How can I get this amount exempted from the levy so I can continue to make the payments?

If your employer did not include child support in your exempt amount, you should contact the IRS at the phone number listed on the Form 668-W(c)(DO) & Form 668-W(ICS). The IRS will release from levy the amount you need to pay court ordered child support that the court ordered before the levy was received by your employer. If support is allowed, the same child cannot be claimed as an exemption for figuring the exempt amount.