Garnishing Federal Income Tax Returns

I just found out recently a Collection company has a debt for a towing bill on a car I gave to someone years ago, it appears the title was not changed and it was totaled last year. My name was on the title and it showed up on my credit report. I called and they have threatened they are going to attach my Federal Income Tax Return, can they?

Comments for Garnishing Federal Income Tax Returns

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Feb 18, 2010
tax return and debt collector
by: Gerri

There are few types of debts where your income tax return can be intercepted - student loan debt is one example. Generally, however, creditors cannot "garnish" or attach your income tax return.

And for most consumer debts, they must first take you to court and get a judgment against you before they can try to garnish wages, attach bank accounts etc.

I think debt collector may be making an illegal threat by telling you that he will take your tax refund if you don't pay up. Since you are in California, I would recommend you contact a consumer law attorney. You may want to try the law offices of Robert Brennan ( He is the coauthor of the California edition of our ebook, Debt Collection Answsers, and he has experience in both debt collection and credit damage cases.

Please let us know what he has to say about your situation and these threats.

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