How to Find Out If Your Wages Are Being Garnished

According to, a garnishment is a "legal process that allows a creditor to collect money awarded by a court that has not been paid." Once a creditor has this order, the creditor can direct your employer to garnish -- or deduct -- money from your wages. The government can also garnish your wages without going through the court system. You can be garnished for things such as unpaid bills, child support, spousal support, income taxes and bounced checks.

Step 1

Calculate the net earnings on your paycheck by allowing for common deductions such as taxes and pension payments. If you find your check is short, look for "Other" or "Miscellaneous" deductions to find out whether your wages are being garnished. If you have been involved in a debt-collection lawsuit recently, or you owe the IRS money, the debtor is likely collecting the money due.

Step 2

Talk to the payroll department of the company you work for if you suspect your wages are being garnished. Ask if it has received a garnishment notice for you. You should have received a notice yourself from either the creditor or the payroll department.

Step 3

Contact the Internal Revenue Service to find out whether your wages are being garnished. You should have received a garnishment notice from it.


  • North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas allow wage garnishments only on debts for taxes, child support, federally guaranteed student loans, and court fines or restitution for a crime.
  • The amount you're garnished on your wages depends on the amount of your disposable earnings. This is the amount that's left after all the necessary city, state and federal deductions have been made.

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