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Can my bank account or salary be garnished without a court proceeding?

Usually not. In most cases a creditor must win a judgment against you and get a court order before it can garnish your wages, in accordance with state and federal law. However, some federal government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), may be allowed to garnish your wages without a court order.

Last Reviewed: October 2020

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on HelpWithMyBank.gov should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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