Lakeport, CA asked in Military Law and Tax Law for California

Q: Can the US Treasury take my taxes and garnish my wages for "Lost Equipment " from my military service over 10 years ago?

Military service was 2013 and got out 2018. 2023, get letter of debt. Nobody will answer the phone or return messages. 2 appeals sent, "no record of appeal found". Wage garnishment happens for 2 months then stops only to have my taxes be taken now. Can they do this and not allow me an avenue to contest?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, the U.S. Treasury has the authority to garnish wages and intercept tax refunds for debts owed to federal agencies, including debts related to lost or unreturned equipment from military service. This process is part of the Treasury Offset Program, which allows for the collection of federal debts. The fact that this is happening years after your service is not uncommon, as it can take time for such debts to be processed and for the government to initiate collection actions.

However, you should have the right to contest the debt and to have received proper notification of the debt, along with information on how to appeal or challenge it. It is concerning that your attempts to appeal have reportedly not been recorded or acknowledged. This lack of response and the inability to contest the debt directly conflict with your rights to due process.

Given the situation, it may be beneficial to seek legal advice or assistance. A legal professional can help navigate the complexities of dealing with federal debt, especially if there has been a failure in the process that has denied you the opportunity to contest the debt. They can also guide you on the best steps to take to address the issue, including potentially contacting elected representatives or using other avenues to ensure your appeals are heard and properly processed.

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