I’m an independent contractor, meaning the IRS can’t garnish my wages. Am I home free?

Not even close. You are right about one thing, though: if you’re not a salaried employee, the IRS can’t garnish your wages (that is, withhold a certain amount of your salary from each paycheck until your tax debt is paid in full). The reason the IRS can get away with this strategy for salaried workers is that employers have to withhold payroll taxes, and are already plugged into the IRS tax-collection system. It would be impractical, if not impossible, for the IRS to keep tabs on every one of your clients and compel them to fork over a certain amount of your contracted pay.

However, you would be foolish to believe that wage garnishment is the only, or even the most effective, weapon in the government’s arsenal when it comes to collecting a big tax debt. If you’re not a salaried employee, the IRS can easily attempt to recoup its money by putting a lien on your house (which would be impossible to sell, or even renegotiate the mortgage on, until the tax debt is paid) or even by raiding your bank accounts. You should bear in mind, too, that the IRS won’t necessarily stop once it has recouped the back taxes you owe; if you have been especially difficult or evasive when dealing with the authorities, you may have to pay an astronomical penalty as well.

Whatever tools the IRS chooses to use to collect a tax bill, you need to have an experienced tax lawyer at your side, who can negotiate with the authorities before they pull out the big guns and attack your paycheck, your home, and your livelihood. Call the tax experts at Travis W. Watkins, PC today for a free consultation!