Wage Attachments

  1. I received a Notice of Employee Wage Attachment. Why did I get this notice?

  2. What gives the department the authority to have employee wages withheld?

  3. As the employer, what do I need to do?

  4. How should I make these payments?

  5. What if paying electronically causes a hardship?

  6. How do I calculate the amount that should be withheld?

  7. What do I do if my employee is on layoff, quits or is terminated?

  8. What happens if I don't withhold?

  9. What if the employee doesn't have enough take home pay to satisfy the wage attachment order?

  10. Why does the amount in My Tax Account or on the Balance Update Letter differ from what our records show to be the outstanding balance?

  11. What if the employee already has one or more garnishments in place?

  12. What if the employee has a wage attachment in place, and another agency issues a garnishment?

  13. Can we charge the employee to process the wage attachment payment?

  14. If I charge a processing fee, do I deduct the fee from the amount I withhold for the department?

  15. Our records show we withheld the amount due from the original Notice of Wage Attachment. Should I stop withholding?

  16. My employee said they contacted the department and made other payment arrangements. Should I stop withholding?


  1. I received a Notice of Employee Wage Attachment. Why did I get this notice?

    Our records show that one of your employees owes a delinquent amount to the Department of Revenue (DOR). State law requires you to withhold money from your employee's wages and send the payment to us.

  2. What gives the department the authority to have employee wages withheld?

    State law (sec. 71.91(7), Wis. Stats.) gives the department the authority to require employers to withhold employee wages for application to their tax debt.

  3. As the employer, what do I need to do?

    Begin withholding immediately and continue to withhold until we notify you to stop. Send the amount by the last day of each month. Do NOT report wage attachment withholding on your Withholding Tax Deposit Report (Form WT-6).

  4. How should I make these payments?

    State law requires electronic payment, using My Tax Account or through an ACH credit through your financial institution. Click the My Tax Account link and the appropriate link under Business Users Help for instructions on how to register for My Tax Account or how to make wage attachment payments.

  5. What if paying electronically causes a hardship?

    You may request a waiver if making electronic payments creates undue hardship for your business. You can request a waiver using Form W-700 available on our website.

    • Fax to:(608) 261-8978
    • Email to: ccerts@wisconsin.gov
    • Mail to: Wisconsin Department of Revenue
                   PO Box 8960
                   Madison, WI 53708-8960

    After you request a waiver, begin sending your payments by check immediately. Make your check payable to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Include the employee's full name and the payment key from the Notice of Employee Wage Attachment. Mail your check to:

    Wisconsin Department of Revenue
    PO Box 8960
    Madison, WI 53708-8960

     

    Complete Form W-118A and mail it with your check if you are withholding wages for multiple employees.

  6. How do I calculate the amount that should be withheld?

    First you must calculate your employee's gross pay. We define gross pay as earnings before any deductions. Deductions include state and federal withholding, social security, health benefits and direct deposits. Gross pay includes wages, commissions, bonuses, advances, draws, and other compensation for services.

    We have the authority to request up to 25% of your employee's gross pay through a wage attachment. If this is your employee's only garnishment multiply the percent listed on the wage attachment by the gross pay. This gives you the amount to withhold. If your employee has another existing garnishment, subtract the amount of that garnishment from the gross pay to calculate the new gross pay. Multiply the percent listed on your notice by the new gross pay to calculate the amount to withhold.

    Example:

    We issue a wag attachment for 25% of gross earnings per pay period:
    Gross pay = $1,000
    Existing garnishment = $250
    New gross pay = $750 ($1,000 - $250 = $750)
    Amount to withhold = $187.50 ($750 x 25% = $187.50)
    Send $187.50 each pay period

    Unlike the IRS, there is no minimum take-home pay requirement.

  7. What do I do if my employee is on layoff, quits or is terminated?

    If your employee is on layoff, update their status using My Tax Account or by completing the employee status section from of your notice and:

    • Fax to: (608) 261-8978
    • Email to: ccerts@wisconsin.gov
    • Mail to: Wisconsin Department of Revenue
      PO Box 8960
      Madison, WI 53708-8960

    If your employee quits or is terminated, withhold their entire last paycheck and any other compensation due to the employee (e.g. vacation payout) up to the balance owed. You may check the balance using My Tax Account. Update your employee's status per the instructions above.

  8. What happens if I don't withhold?

    According to state law, you may be held responsible for the total amount owed by your employee if you don't withhold or if you don't send the amounts withheld.

  9. What if the employee doesn't have enough take home pay to satisfy the wage attachment order?

    The department is exempt from minimum take home pay requirements. The employee's gross pay, no matter the amount, is subject to wage attachment. If you are using a third party payroll processor, they may need to remove blockers that prevent withholding below a minimum requirement.

  10. Why does the amount in My Tax Account or on the Balance Update Letter differ from what our records show to be the outstanding balance?

    The department adds interest to the outstanding balance on the first of each month. Also, the employee may incur additional debt. The department may add these amounts to the wage attachment. Finally, other types of employee payments can change the outstanding balance due. The balance shown in My Tax Account is the most up-to-date information available.

  11. What if the employee already has one or more garnishments in place?

    You must process the department's wage attachment even if your employee is subject to another garnishment. The department's wage attachment would be calculated on the gross pay remaining after honoring previous garnishments. Wisconsin law exempts the department from any minimum take home pay requirements.

  12. What if the employee has a wage attachment in place, and another agency issues a garnishment?

    The DOR wage attachment has priority over any subsequent garnishments, except for past due child support. You must continue withholding wages for the wage attachment. Contact the other agency for their guidelines when there is an existing wage attachment.

  13. Can we charge the employee to process the wage attachment payment?

    Most employers do not charge their employees to process a wage attachment order. However, nothing prevents you from charging your employee a reasonable processing fee.

  14. If I charge a processing fee, do I deduct the fee from the amount I withhold for the department?

    No. Any fees charged to the employee are an extra deduction. You must submit the entire withholding amount to the department.

  15. Our records show we withheld the amount due from the original Notice of Wage Attachment. Should I stop withholding?

    No. You must continue to withhold until you receive a release letter from the department or until the balance showing in My Tax Account is at $0. The balance can change from the total amount due stated on the original wage attachment notice. When the balance due falls below $300 the department will send you a Wage Attachment Update notice.

  16. My employee said they contacted the department and made other payment arrangements. Should I stop withholding?

    No. You must continue to withhold until you receive a release letter from the department. Until that time, the wage attachment remains in effect.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Compliance Bureau
PO Box 8960
Madison, WI 53708-8960
Phone: (608) 264-9956
Fax: (608) 261-8978
Email: ccerts@wisconsin.gov

January 25, 2018