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How to Use a Wage Garnishment Calculator

How to Use a Wage Garnishment Calculator

There are a number of reasons one would have his or her wages garnished. These reasons can range from having to pay off back taxes to allotting part of your salary towards child support. Whatever the reason, if you’ve recently found yourself in a situation where your wages are being garnished, it’s important to understand exactly what that means and what to expect.

Garnishing one’s wages is usually (although not always) done when an amount of money is owed that is too large or burdensome to be paid off in one installment. For that reason, a percentage of your paycheck is taken every time to chip away at the debt slowly until the balance of the outstanding money is owed.

If you want to anticipate how much to expect will be taken from each paycheck, find a simple wage garnishment calculator online. There are several to choose from, so you’re sure to find a version that is easy to understand and will work for your situation.

Whatever version you end up choosing, each wage garnishment calculator is going to have some of the same basic numbers to input. The first to be aware of is pay frequency. This is where you have to input how often—on a monthly basis—you receive a paycheck. Usually, your options will be weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly. For the vast majority of people, it will either be biweekly (two paychecks per month) or monthly (one paycheck per month).

The next number to input on the wage garnishment calculator will be your gross pay. This is the amount you get per paycheck, but there is one major pitfall to avoid. Do not simply input how much you deposit after your paycheck. Rather, put the number before any taxes or other withholdings have been assessed.

Let’s review those first two steps with real numbers. Say, for example, you make $15 per hour on a forty-hour workweek. You get paid twice a month. The first option you would select on the wage garnishment calculator would be biweekly. The second number you’d input would be $1200. That would represent your gross pay.

The next numbers to input on your wage garnishment calculator would be all of the items which are withheld from your paycheck. These are things like federal income tax, social security, Medicare payments, and any other withholdings that might be specific to your situation. All of these numbers can be found on a paystub. Simply locate the category, such as federal income tax, and you will find a number after it. That number will indicate how much of each paycheck is already withheld for that specific purpose.

Input all of these numbers into the calculator, and you will have a list of results. The most pertinent number will be the one marked “Wage Garnishment”  or “$/Paycheck.” This number is how much to expect to see taken out of every paycheck.

Should your situation change, simply input the new data into the calculator, and you’ll have an updated and accurate number.

Photo courtesy of yomanimus.

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