Wage and Tax Return Garnishment

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Information on Garnishment

The Department of Education has the ability to take legal action against a borrower who has not paid back on their student loans and is in a defaulted status. If the borrower is employed, they may have a portion of their earnings withheld by their employer for the payment of debt. The only way this stops without action is if the borrower’s debt has been paid back in full, including interest, or if the borrower is terminated from their place of employment, which at that point they will still have to pay back their debt some other way. The maximum any borrower can be garnished for their federal student loans in a pay period is 15 percent of their disposable income and not their gross income. Once the garnishment process has begun, your options become extremely limited. You can no longer consolidate to get your loans out of this status. The last option you’re faced with is getting into a rehabilitation program. Under this program, you will have to make 9 consecutive satisfactory payments. If you are to miss a payment, then you must begin the program again as if you had not made any payments previously. If you are able to make 9 consecutive satisfactory payments, then the lender will life the garnishment.

Along with wage garnishment, borrowers can also have their federal tax refund garnished. The Department of Education will refer their account to the IRS to have offset any tax refund they may have been eligible for. The federal government can continue to tax their refunds each year until the balance of their student loans has been paid back in full including any outstanding interest. Having a tax refund offset can create extreme financial burdens on the borrower. A tax professional has no way of seeing beforehand if a borrowers taxes will be taken prior to filing their taxes. In addition to all of this, the IRS can apply the borrower’s spouse’s tax refund to cover the balance of the student loans if they file their taxes jointly even if the spouse has no Federal Student loans. Just like having wages garnished, their options become extremely limited but they still have the option of consolidation as long as they have yet to have their wages garnished.

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