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Can a creditor garnish my income tax return if there is a judgement won against me?

Miami, FL |

There is a judgement against me that I believe has been won because my personal bank account has been garnished. Can these people try and garnish my income tax return? I live in Florida. Do they have a right to do that?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Yes, it is a general practice for creditors with a judgment against you to take your tax return. The judgment against you gives them the right.

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  2. When you find out that a judgment has been entered against you, normally by discovering that your wages are being garnished or the bank account has been frozen, you still have a couple of options.

    In most States the Courts allow you to reopen and challenge a “default judgment”. Most States will allow a year to accomplish this. If you did not get the paperwork for the lawsuit, or you got the paperwork but never did anything, then the judgment was “entered” due to your default to file an Answer.

    You have to bring a motion in the Court where the judgment is filed. That motion normally has to include a defense to the charges and a copy of your proposed Answer.

    You should definitely get a local lawyer to help you with this, or seek the assistance of a Bankruptcy attorney to get rid of the liability. If you can’t afford a lawyer and you are being sued check out my website for a free form Answer.

    Good Luck!

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    Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.


  3. Yes and no. They cannot actually intercept your tax return. HOWEVER, once you deposit the return into your bank account, a judgment creditor can get touch it. The best thing you can do is contact a consumer attorney in your state to help you decide your options based on local court procedures and state law. You can find one through the National Association of Consumer Advocates at www.NACA.net. Look under debt collection to find an experienced attorney in your area.
    Good luck!


  4. They won't get it from the IRS directly, but they can hit your bank account and get it that way.

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