A quick guide on how to challenge a Tax Warrant in Connecticut. First we cover some background, then we clue you in to your legal rights, and we tell you how to preserve them
In Connecticut, State Tax Debt is collected like a judgment
In the State of Connecticut, the Department of Revenue Services has different methods of collecting taxes and encouraging compliance through civil enforcement. These methods depart from the way the IRS will collect taxes, but it some ways - state and IRS debts are functionally equivalent.
You may be aware that tax debts are generally enforceable as if they are final judgments. There are also certain agreements in place between the federal government and state governments which allow refunds from one to be intercepted and applied to the debt of the other.
So in Connecticut, if you are expecting a Federal Tax Refund, but you owe state taxes, it is possible the state will get that money before you do.
Connecticut will also apply any refunds you get from the state in the future to your unpaid taxes.
Like the federal government, the State of Connecticut will also file liens against taxpayers who are behind in their liabilities.
The State of Connecticut can foreclose on assets to satisfy a tax debt.
Unlike the federal government, though, the procedures for protecting your Due Process rights are different in the State of Connecticut.
With IRS debt, taxpayers will received several collections notice before they received a "Final Notice of Intent to Levy" (also know as a lt11 or cp1058).
With CT State debt, the first "bill" from the DRS (if being issued after an audit) actually triggers your right to appeal the assessment. But once that assessment is finalized, the notice you need to look out for is a "30-Day Collection Notice" which will be sent certified mail to your last known address.
After that 30-days has passed, the DRS can start issuing Tax Warrants to employers and anyone who owes you money.
So what if DRS serves a wage Tax Warrant on my Employer?
With IRS debt, the Final Notice of Intent to Levy provides taxpayers with Due Process rights. (The government is constitutionally required to provide Due Process before taking your property. )
The IRS mechanism is administrative - meaning that the appeal is handled on the agency level. In Connecticut, though, due process for state collection matters is handled through the courts.
taxpayers will need to file a case to modify the "wage execution" which is technically what a Tax Warrant is. There is a limited period of time you have to file this sort of case. It will be spelled out in the notice that is given to you by your employer.
Having to actually go to court to protect your wages from onerous levies is one of the downsides to having to deal with the DRS. On the other hand, a court (or a lawyer from the state - if you can agree) will be deciding what you can afford to pay. This is different than a situation with an IRS Collections Due Process hearing. In that kind of hearing, an IRS employee will be the one considering your case.
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