Florida statutes state that earnings of the “head of household”, including wages, salary, and commissions, are exempt from garnishment. This statutory exemption will not protect Florida debtors if they owe money to a federal government agency. Federal agencies can garnish up to 15% of your earnings even if you are exempt from garnishment under Florida law. Most people are aware that the IRS has extraordinary collection tools, but this super wage garnishment powers are available to the federal government to collect all non-tax debts.
A federal agency may, without court order, order an employer to withhold 15% of your salary or, garnish distributions from your own business to satisfy a non-tax debt even if state law does not permit wage garnishment. However, a federal agency may not garnish your wages if you have not been in your current job for at least 12 months and you were involuntarily separated from your previous job.
I learned about the federal government’s wage garnishment rights in the course of defending a client against a federal agency’s judgment. The client is being represented in court by a south Florida attorney named Peter Homer. Mr. Homer specializes in defending business people against federal agency civil lawsuits. He is an expert in the federal government’s debt collection powers and its collection practices.