Taxpayer FAQ: (Employers: click here)
Why have I received a “NOTICE PRIOR TO WAGE GARNISHMENT”?
You received a certified notice before wage garnishment from Berkheimer because you failed to pay delinquent taxes/fees due and have not responded to prior notices sent to you. If you fail to respond to this notice by the Due Date to resolve the delinquency, Berkheimer will institute a Wage Garnishment with your employer within 30 days of that date.
What is a wage garnishment?
A wage garnishment is a request made by a tax collector or tax officer asking that an individual’s employer and / or the individual’s spouse’s employer, withhold a portion of the employee’s pay in order to satisfy a delinquent tax which it has been unable to collect from the employee via other means. The use of Wage Garnishments for the collection of delinquent wage and personal taxes is authorized under Section 702 of the Local Tax Enabling Act (“LTEA”). The taxes that may be collected utilizing this process include: Earned Income, Local Service, Occupation Assessment and Per Capita.
What are my options at this point?
The issuance of the certified notice before wage garnishment is the collector’s final attempt to have the taxpayer contact them in regards to the debt being pursued. At this point the taxpayer still has the ability to contact us to make payment in full of the amounts due or to set up payment arrangements to clear the debt prior to the employer being notified. You have 15 days from the date of issuance of this notice to contact the collector to set up arrangements or to make payment in full. If you fail to do so, the request is sent to your employer. Once your employer is contacted, no other arrangements can be made.
- Pay in Full – You can return a copy of the notification sent to you along with payment of the full amount due. Payment can also be made via our website. Use the Online Payments or Pay Online links; choose the payment type (ACH or Credit Card) under Delinquent Notice Tax Payments. To pay online, click here.
- Payment Plan – You can return a copy of the notification along with a letter stating that you wish to set up a payment arrangement. The letter should state the amount you wish to pay each month. Once the payment plan is established you will be sent information on how to pay the amount due. You can also request a payment plan via our website. There is a $5.00 per payment charge added to all payment plans established. To request a payment plan online, click here.
- You can also contact our office using the phone number printed on the notice or via e-mail. To contact us via email, click here.
What should I do if I feel I do not owe the taxes that are shown as due?
If you feel that you have received this notice in error, you should contact our office to notify us of this fact. At that point your account would be placed on hold for 30 days and you would be given the opportunity to provide us with the documentation needed to remove the taxes shown as due.
If you have recently paid the taxes to us, it is possible that this notice and your payment have crossed in the mail. If this is the case, please contact us so that we can verify that your payment has been received. If it has, we will let you know the matter is now closed.
How much of my pay is my employer allowed to take each week?
Under the LTEA an employer is permitted to withhold up to 10% of your gross wages, commissions or earnings for local taxes now due, or which hereafter become due, until such time that the listed balance is paid in full. The funds that are collected are then sent to the tax collector/officer either immediately after deducted from your pay or on a monthly basis.
The wage garnishment notice I received states that the amounts owed are for my spouse, is this legal?
Yes, Section 702 of the LTEA does indeed allow for a tax administrator to request that an employer withhold the amounts due from an employee’s pay for taxes that remain unpaid by their spouse. The filing of a wage garnishment against a spouse is normally utilized after all other efforts to collect upon the debt have been utilized by the collector. If the amounts owed are for a former spouse, you must provide our office with a copy of the divorce decree to have the wage garnishment withdrawn.
If you have questions on this process or the notice that you have received, please feel free to contact us at the phone number on your notice or visit our website.