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The Virginia Department of Taxation is Taking All of My Pay. – Leslie

“Dear Jim,

I owe back taxes to the state of Virginia for ’06 and ’07. I neglected to pay only because I was dealing with a brain tumor.

The VA Dept. of Taxation levied a garnishment of 100% of net. VA Dept. of Taxation uses federal tax exemptions not federal limits for garnishment. At least, that is what I am currently experiencing.


Dear Leslie,

Thanks for your question and sorry to hear about your hardship. Time to take action to release your levy because State of VA tax levies take your entire “net” paycheck until the debt is satisfied or the State of Virginia Department of Taxation releases the levy.

You will need to get started quickly as my experience with the State of Virginia is that they move very slowly.

Start by calling (804) 367-8045, the Virginia Dept. of Taxation Collection Department, and explain your situation:

  1. Prepare yourself with a monthly income and expense statement- note all of your household income and expenses- you will need to refer to this document in the call.
  2. Explain that you have a levy that is taking all of your take home pay
  3. Explain your circumstances that caused you not to be able to pay
  4. Ask them to abate your penalties due to your hardship (if they deny by phone, request it in writing to the same place that you file your tax return)
  5. Ask them for a payment plan or to adjust your levy to the amount of your payment plan monthly payment- VATAX usually allows up to 24 months to pay. (Note: Virginia generally does not allow a payment deferral)
  6. Ask them to immediately release your levy- have the fax number ready for the agent to send a faxed copy of a levy release to your employer

Continue to timely pay on your installment plan and file your taxes on time thereafter. If you do not get satisfaction, call VATAX Customer Service and request expedited service ((804) 367-8031) or the Virginia Tax Commissioner’s Office at 804-786-3536.

Please keep me updated on your progress. The State of Virginia is hard to deal with due largely in part to traditionally using outside collectors.

Your tax servant,


Jim Buttonow is one of the resident debt experts here at that helps people for free. Jim is a licensed CPA who spent 19 years with the IRS coordinating large compliance teams of IRS agents and specialized personnel. In the last 5 years, Jim has invented consumer and practitioner software and treatises on how to address many different tax issues. He has also represented many people before the IRS examination, collection, filing, and appeals functions. He currently assists taxpayers on an active pro bono tax practice aimed at serving people in need. He can be reached at

If you have a tax question you’d like to ask just use the online form. I’m happy to help you totally for free.

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About Jim Buttonnow

Jim Buttonnow
Jim Buttonow, CPA/CITP, is cofounder of Beyond415. He has more than 26 years of experience in IRS practice and procedure. Reach Jim at [email protected].

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