Skip to main content

Can federal income tax be taken out of your Social Security Disability check for back income taxes in Arizona?

Phoenix, AZ |

I owe approx.$14,000. These are back taxes for 96-98.

The judge just approved me for SSDI benefits and I will be getting a large sum of money. Can my back taxes that I owe be taken out of this check? I live in Arizona.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Yes, the IRS can levy your social security income and apply it to delinquent tax years, and it doesn't matter what state you live in. The statute of limitations for collection of back taxes is 10 years, but it doesn't start running until the tax is assessed. Also, there are events that can toll (pause) the statute of limitations, so it is plausible that the statute has not yet run even though these delinquencies go way back to 1996. You should consult with an experienced tax attorney because there may be options for you if you do not have the money to pay what you owe.

This response should not be considered legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by this response, which reflects only the opinion of the author. The response should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question and could change if additional facts were made available.



How can I find out when the tax was accessed?

John Adam Wetenkamp

John Adam Wetenkamp


You can call the IRS for that information, or you can order transcripts.


The bad news is that the IRS can indeed garnish your Social Security Disability payments for unpaid income taxes. The good news is the recent decision to recognize your disability may very likely change your collections situation with the IRS. In other words, the IRS will often consider the disability of the taxpayer as a factor in how aggressively (or whether) it pursues the tax debt. I have represented clients in similar situations and have found that when such events occur, the IRS is typically receptive to a modification of the repayment arrangement and, in some cases, will cease collection activity all together. However, I would recommend you engage an attorney who works on tax controversies and resolution to negotiate with the IRS on your behalf.

I hope this answer helps you better understand your issue. The answers I provide in response to questions posed on do not constitute legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in such a relationship, please contact me through my profile. Thank you.


If you receive monthly SSI benefits, the IRS can seize a portion of those benefits and apply them towards back taxes owed. They can take up to 15% of your monthly benefits. You should consult with a tax attorney to evaluate your options in tackling this issue.

THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.