A creditor or government agency typically garnishes your wages to satisfy a debt you owe. These debts can include child support, alimony, past-due taxes and payments for a lawsuit settlement. Although your pay stub will report any garnishments your employer withholds from your paycheck, your employer isn't required to include this information on your W-2.
Box 14 on your W-2 is a space designated for your employer to provide you with additional information on your withholdings or benefits. Your employer might choose to use this box to list your garnishments; however, use of this box is optional.
Your Pay Stubs
If you can claim a garnishment as a deduction on your taxes, and your employer doesn't list the garnishment on your W-2, you might have to use your pay stubs to claim the deduction. Your employer should list a breakdown of your withholdings and include a code or abbreviation for each withholding. For example, the Fort Worth Independent School District uses code "6025" to represent a miscellaneous garnishment and the New River Community College uses the code "GARNISH." For more information on deduction codes, contact your employer's human resource department.
Statement from Your Employer
If you didn't keep all copies of your pay stubs for the past year, your employer should have a record of your garnishments. Contact your employer's human resource department and request a printout. Your employer should be able to provide you with a detailed statement, which will include the amount withheld, the agency to which the payment was sent and the balance of your debt, if applicable.
Depending on the nature of debt, your garnishment might be deductible on your taxes. If the garnishment is for a debt that ordinarily would have been deductible, you can claim the garnishment. For example, if a hospital sued you for past medical bills, you can claim the garnishment as an itemized deduction. You can also claim garnishments for alimony, student loan interest and repayments to unemployment compensation.
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