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Understanding Your Role as a Garnishee

This page is meant to provide general guidance about the garnishment process as it relates to garnishments issued by the Oregon Department of Revenue (department). This page should not be taken as legal advice.

Common terms

During the garnishment process you may encounter the following terms.

Garnishee: The person to whom the Notice of Garnishment (garnishment) has been delivered. Examples of a garnishee would be an employer or a bank.

Garnishor: The issuer of the garnishment. For garnishments issued by the Department of Revenue, the department is the garnishor.

Debtor: The individual or business who owes a debt.

Exemption: Value of assets and personal property belonging to a debtor and the amount of wages payable to a debtor which are protected from garnishment by state or federal law.

Support Orders: This can refer to an order to withhold for child or spousal support.

Understanding garnishments

To collect delinquent debt, the department may issue wage or bank garnishments. This page is meant to serve as a resource for garnishees who have received a notice of garnishment from the department.

If you received a notice of garnishment from the department, it is because our records show that you either employ or hold assets or funds for the person listed on the notice. As a garnishee, you are required to respond to the notice of garnishment. If you have possession, custody and control of wages, funds in a deposit account, or other assets not protected from garnishment, you must also remit payment to the department (ORS 18.680 through ORS 18.690).

You can make garnishment payments on Revenue Online.

You can also submit garnishment payments by mail. To ensure that payments are applied to the appropriate debtor, you should note the name of the debtor and the Notice of Garnishment ID number.

Revenue Online (ROL) 

ROL serves as the department's online portal for our customers. Through ROL you can:

  • Respond to new garnishments and update existing garnishment responses.
  • Submit payments quickly and easily.
  • View current balances for all garnishments.
  • Manage multiple garnishments.

You can sign up for a ROL account on the ROL homepage. You can validate your account with the letter ID number on the notice of garnishment.

To add garnishment access in ROL:

  • Click the More Options tab;
  • Click Add Access to an Account link;
  • Select Garnishment Access from the drop-down list of account types;
  • Enter your zip code; and
  • Enter a letter ID found in the upper right corner of the Notice of Garnishment you have received. If you have not received a recent notice of garnishment, contact the department to request a letter to validate your garnishment access account.

Calculating wages subject to garnishment

The Wage Exemption Calculation is a form included with our Notice of Garnishment. The form is used to help you calculate the amount that you should send to the department. You should complete this calculation each pay period through Revenue Online or by using the form provided in the notice of garnishment.

There are two exemptions that apply to the debtor's wages. The normal wage exemption protects 75 percent of a person's wages after required payroll taxes (ORS 18.385(1)).  The minimum wage exemption requires that a person makes a minimum amount before their wages are subject to garnishment (ORS 18.385(2)). 

The department issues garnishments on different types of debt:

  • Garnishments for Tax debt (e.g., personal income tax, withholding) or
  • Garnishments for Other Agency Accounts debt.

To determine the type of debt for which your garnishment has been issued look on page 1 of the Notice of Garnishment, under the heading “Account type."

For tax debt, only the 75 percent wage exemption applies (ORS 18.385(6)).

For Other Agency Account (OAA) debt, both the 75 percent wage exemption and the minimum wage exemption apply (ORS 18.385(1) – (4)).

The examples below represent different scenarios. Review the example that most closely matches your scenario from below.

Example 1: Tax Debt Exemption Calculation for One Garnishment

Here, the department has issued a garnishment against a debtor who earned $1,000.00 gross income for this pay period (line 1). The employer has not received garnishments from other creditors nor does the debtor have a support order.

In this example, after calculating the amount of disposable wages (line 3), the amount of wages subject to garnishment is $187.50 (line 5).

No other writ or garnishment was issued to this debtor, therefore line 6 would be marked as $0.00. 

In this example, the employer would send the department $187.50 for this pay period (line 7).

Example 2: Tax Debt Exemption Calculation for Two Garnishments

Here, the department has issued a garnishment against a debtor who earned $400.00 gross income for this pay period (line 1) and is paid every two weeks. The employer has received a garnishment from another creditor and the debtor does not have a support order. The first garnishment is subject to the minimum wage exemption while the department's garnishment for tax debt is not.

In this example, using the wage calculation form received with the first garnishment (not the table in this example), the employer would calculate the amount of wages subject to garnishment under the first notice of garnishment they received. Here that amount would be $66.00.

In this example, the employer would pay $66.00 for the first garnishment (line 6) and then send the department $14.00 for this pay period (line 7) for the tax garnishment.

Example 3: Tax Debt Exemption Calculation for Two Garnishments and a Support Order

The conditions for this example are the same as they are in example 2 except that the debtor now pays $120.00 towards a support order per pay period. The employer would calculate the wages subject to the first garnishment and then calculate the amount subject to the department's garnishment in the same manner outlined in example 2.

Support orders take priority over garnishments and should be paid first (ORS 25.375). After support orders are paid, garnishments should be paid in the order in which they are received. While it is possible that a support order could result in $0.00 available to pay a garnishment, the employer should use the wage exemption calculation forms received with each garnishment to ensure that the correct amounts are calculated and paid.

As shown in example 2, the total amount available for garnishment is $80.00 (line 5). The employer would subtract the amount of the support order from line 5. If there are still funds available after the support order has been subtracted from line 5 then the employer would continue to subtract each garnishment until all garnishments have been satisfied or funds in line 5 have reached $0.00.

In this example, the employer would remit $120.00 for the support order but none of the garnishments would receive payment for this pay period.

Example 4: OAA Debt Exemption Calculation for Two Garnishments and a Support Order

Here, the department has issued a garnishment against a debtor who earned $3,000.00 gross income for this pay period (line 1) and is paid every two weeks. Prior to receiving this garnishment from the department, the employer had already received a previous garnishment from another creditor for $200.00. The debtor also pays $120.00 towards a support order.

The $320.00 in line 8 represents the $120.00 for the support order and the $200.00 owed towards the previous garnishment.

After subtracting the $320.00 (line 8) from the $525.00 (line 7), the employer would calculate and remit $205.00 to the department for this pay period.

The debtor in this example is paid every two weeks, so the exemption on line 5 is $509.00, based on the minimum exception table below.

Frequently asked questions

​Use the wage exemption calculation form received with each garnishment to calculate the appropriate amount to withhold and remit for each garnishment. ​

​You are still responsible to submit a garnishment response and wage exemption calculation every pay period unless this service is provided by your third-party payroll processor.

To ensure that the appropriate garnishment payment amount is sent to the department, verify with your third-party payroll processor to make sure they withhold the correct amount. ​

​To verify the employee is having the correct amount garnished, complete the Wage Exemption Calculation form provided in the notice of garnishment. ​

​In general, garnishments should be processed in the order in which they are received. However, while some garnishments expire after 90 days, Notices of Garnishment issued by the department remain in effect until the balance has been paid in full or the garnishment has been released by the department. ​

​In general, support orders have priority over garnishments. Use the wage exemption calculation form to calculate the appropriate amount to remit to the department. ​Support orders and state tax garnishments may run concurrently. This may result in payments being sent for the support order and garnishment payment during the same pay cycle. ​

​Some debts accrue interest. Contact us at the numbers listed above to obtain a final payoff amount.

No. You must continue to withhold until you receive a release letter from the department or have called and verified that the balance has been paid in full. Until that time, the wage garnishment remains in effect. ​

You must still answer the garnishment. You can submit a garnishment response through Revenue Online​ or mail in the garnishee response form that is included with the notice of garnishment you received from the department, indicating you do not employ the debtor.

The garnishment remains in effect until paid in full. Retain your copy of the notice of garnishment, for reference, should the debtor resume employment with you.

You can confirm the current balance for the garnishment through Revenue Online and update the department of the debtor's employment status. You can also reach us at the contact information listed above.​

​You are legally required to remit payment of amounts not exempt from garnishment by law. Failure to do so may result in you being found personally responsible for the debts listed in the garnishment.​

​Generally, garnishments issued by the department are for all earnings unless otherwise exempted from garnishment by law (ORS 18.375). ​

Refer to ORS 18.375 to determine whether the compensation paid to the independent contractor meets the definition for earnings.

If the compensation meets the definition for earnings, use the Wage Exemption Calculation worksheet to determine the garnishment amount (ORS 18.385).

If the compensation does not meet the definition for earnings, you must mail or deliver to the department the amount due to the debtor or a portion of the payment sufficient to satisfy the garnishment, whichever is less, within five days after when the payment is due to the independent contractor (ORS 18.732).

Note: If the earnings are not set to be paid to the independent contractor at the time the Notice of Garnishment is delivered but are set to be paid within 45 days after the delivery date you are not required to mail or deliver the money to the department until the payment is due. ​

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Oregon Department of Revenue

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