I have recently received a notification from Berkheimer informing me that I have failed to respond to inquiries from them on past due taxes/fees due to them and that due to this fact, Berkheimer intends to institute a Wage Attachment with my employer within 30 days if I fail to respond once more. I have some questions in regards to this matter. They are as follows:
What is a wage attachment?
Wage attachments are a request made by an entity asking that an individual’s employer withhold a portion of the employees pay in order to satisfy a personal debt which has been unable to be collected via other means from the employee. The use of Wage Attachments for the collection of Delinquent wage and personal taxes is authorized under Section 19 of the Local Tax Enabling Act (ACT 511 of 1969). The taxes that may be collected utilizing this process include; Earned Income, Local Service, Occupational Privilege and/or Occupation Assessment, Per Capita and other debts of a personal nature.
How much of my pay is my employer allowed to take each week?
Under state and federal statute an employer is permitted to withhold as much as 10% of the employees gross compensation (pay) from each payment it makes to the employee, until which point the amount requested is satisfied. The funds that are collected are then sent to the requesting party on monthly basis.
The wage attachment notice I received states that the amounts owed are for my spouse, is this legal?
Yes, Section 19 of ACT 511 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 attachment against a spouse is normally utilized after all other efforts to collect upon the debt have been utilized by the collector.
What are my options at this point?
The issuance of the “NOTICE PRIOR TO WAGE ATTACHMENT” 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 and/or to set up payment arrangements to clear the debt prior to the employer being notified. You have 30 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, then the request is sent to your employer, and once that takes place no other arrangements may be made with us.
- 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 on line on our website at hab-inc.com. You would then choose the ELECTRONIC SERVICES tab, then the option under Delinquent Tax Payments you wish to utilize (ACH or Credit Card). There is a nominal fee charged by the 3rd party provider, Official Payments, to accept credit card payments. That fee is charged and retained by them for allowing you to use this option.
- 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 frequency that you wish to make payments (Weekly or monthly) and the amount you wish to pay each time. Once the payment plan is established you will be sent information on how to pay the amount due. Once you are sent up on a payment plan you will have the ability to pay it on line as well.
- You can also contact our delinquent department by phone (610-599-3134) or by e-mail at: https://www.hab-inc.com/contact-us/.
- There is a $5.00 per payment charge added to all payment plans established with us.
What should I do if I feel I do not owe the taxes that are shown as due?
If you feel that you have been in error you should contact our offices and notify us of this fact. At that point your account would be placed on hold and you would be given the opportunity to provide us with the documentation needed to remove the taxes shown as due. Some of the reasons that you may not owe it include:
- You were employed in the City of Philadelphia in the year in question. If that is the case the wage taxes paid may cover your full liability or at least a portion of it. If this is the case you will be asked to provide us with a copy of your W-2 for the year in question showing the taxes paid to the city.
- You worked in another county and the taxes withheld were not properly reciprocated to us. If that is the case we will request a copy of your W-2 for that period of time and will make the appropriate claim to that collector for them.
- You have already 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.
The wage attachment is for my former spouse?
Unfortunately under current legal statutes, even if you are no longer married to them, if you were legally married to your spouse for the year in question, you are responsible for their delinquency. In cases such as these we will try to work with you to identify an employer for them, and if one can be obtained, file the request with payment with them. If this is the case, please contact us so we can try to rectify the matter.
The employee listed on the request no longer works for us – what do we need to do?
If you receive a Wage Attachment Request for an employee that no longer works for you, we ask you that you notify us of this fact. This can be done via a letter, e-mail or phone call. Once you have notified us of this fact, your requirement to execute on the request is relieved.
If you have questions on this process or the notice that you have received, please feel free to contact us at 1-610-599-3134 or https://www.hab-inc.com/contact-us/.