IRS Garnishing Legislator’s Salary

For the past seven years, the Idaho State Legislature has been handing over the bi-weekly paychecks addressed to tax-protester Rep. Phil Hart directly over to the IRS. Since 2005, the IRS has been garnishing the $16,000 of wages, which was 100 percent of his annual legislative pay. According to reports, Hart owes more than $600,000 dollars, mainly to the IRS and the State of Idaho Tax Commission.

Hart, who is completing his last term in the Idaho State Legislature after having lost his re-election bid last month as well as his seat on a House tax committee amid an ethics investigation last year, lost his appeal at the state court level, and is now involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

With the IRS and the State Commission demanding payment of the $600,000, Hart has vowed to continue fighting, disputing all but around $7,000 of the claim.

While this may be an extreme case in regards to Rep. Hart, wage garnishment are a very realistic tactic of the IRS to collect the money it believes it is owed.  A wage garnishment, a legal procedure in which the IRS seizes the taxpayer’s wages directly from his employer, can be stopped in several ways. The first two ways are short-term solutions. The first is to promise to pay the amount owed in full, using money borrowed from friends or family. The second is the placement of the taxpayer on an installment agreement plan with the IRS. Long term solutions include filing the missing returns, reaching an offer in compromise, enforcing statute limitations on the IRS. The final solution, which it seems Rep. Hart is utilizing, is filing for bankruptcy.

If you find yourself with a wage garnishment, consult a tax professional for immediate assistance. Wage garnishments are always a priority.


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