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The quickest, easiest and most effective tool is the Bank Levy. The key, of course, is to find the account. Many Judgment Creditors will have a copy of a check previously remitted from the debtor. The greatest advantage of using a Private Process Server is that the levy can be performed on demand. When the funds are available to satisfy your judgment (or partially satisfy), the account needs to be levied immediately. The Sheriff will perform the levy, but who knows when? A Judgment Creditor cannot instruct the Sheriff (or Marshall) when to levy on a bank account! Your local sheriff will perform the levy when they have time. However, by the time the Sheriff serves the bank, your money may be gone. Has the IRS filed a levy with your bank, leaving you unable to pay your bills, your rent or mortgage, your car payment or to feed your family? You only have 21 days to stop the levy with a Bank Levy Release.
If you ignore IRS notices, phone calls and letters, the IRS will start what they call Enforced Collection. Again, it is a way for them to get your attention and collect the delinquent taxes. Locating the bank or other financial institution can be difficult for the IRS. However, if you had interest or dividend income in the last few years, the IRS knows where to start. Just like your W-2, these 1099 forms show the name and address of the financial institution that may have your money or property (stocks, bonds, etc.).
Seizure of your bank account or your assets is the ultimate action in their debt collections efforts. The IRS sends a Notice of Levy to the financial institution informing them that you owe taxes. The IRS requires them to freeze all the money in your account(s) as of that day. This includes all accounts with your social security number. You are then unable to use any of those funds to pay your bills. This freeze may cause your checks to bounce. The bank must hold these funds for 21 days. At the end of that period, the bank must remit the funds to the IRS.
This 21 day period allows us time to negotiate with and encourage the IRS to release the funds from levy. See Bank Levy Release for more details. After the 21 day period, the bank sends the money to the IRS and it's gone! There is nothing you can do at that point unless you overpaid the taxes. Once you owe the IRS money, they become very aggressive in their collection attempts. One of the more common collection methods the IRS uses is the Bank Levy. It allows the IRS to present your bank with a piece of paper that requires the bank to immediately withdraw all the money you owe the IRS.
After the bank has cleaned out all checking and savings accounts with your name on them, they send the money to the IRS. You should take this as notice that the IRS will issue another bank levy against you in the future to satisfy any remaining amounts owed to them. It's kind of like hitting the lottery for the IRS. Once they find out how to get your money, they will continue taking your money by issuing more bank levies.
Many times these bank levies are wrong, but it's up to you to correct the problem. Meanwhile, the checks you've written are bouncing all over town.
The worst thing about the IRS bank levy is that it may capture your children's, parent's, girlfriend's or spouse's bank account, if your name happens to be on the account. Even if it's just on there for convenience.
About debt collection services: The amount of data-laden paper exchanging hands between associations and their members has never been greater—or more difficult to manage—than it is today. Data for dues collection, membership surveys, conference registration and evaluations, and member testing and certification must be collected, analyzed, reported, and stored. Since the emergence of the Internet, the proliferation of do-it-yourself business models have flourished in many industries. Now we are able to go online and purchase goods, trade stocks and do our banking. It is with that thought in mind that we developed a secure website that allows you, the creditor, to data enter debtor information, customize the formulation of collection letters, and report to the major credit bureaus. All for a small one time charge on your credit card. The automation makes it easy, quick and affordable. Some debt collection agencies include automated online collection services like:
* Member Attitude/Member Demographic Surveys
* Member Enrollment
* Census Services
* Conference/Course Enrollment
* Conference Evaluation
* Testing and Certification
* Instructor/Presenter Evaluation
* Employee Satisfaction Surveys
Debt collection agencies can be invaluable in cases of missing debtors. Let's say you have not idea where to locate a debtor, his or her phone number has been disconnected, and the person's mail is not being forwarded. If you have the debtor's driver's license number (it should be on the credit application), you may be able to do some skip tracing and find the person's new location. However, debtors who skip town to avoid their debts (and they usually have several) are usually smart enough to know how to avoid their creditors. There are courses and books on the "how to's" of skip tracing, and if you can afford to invest the time it takes to do the skip tracing, then by all means to try locate the person yourself and collect your money using your credit collection services. But skip tracing is extremely time consuming and once the debtor is found, he/she is usually in another state. You must familiarize yourself with the laws of that state, and depending on the size of your business, the odds of collecting your money are slim. Even if you successfully sue the consumer in small claims court, the small claims court has no power to enforce payment and you are still left with the task of trying to collect on your judgment. It is better to invest your time in collecting money from people who are within your reach.
Contingency based debt collection process can be the most tenacious recovery effort in the country. It guarantees a relentless pursuit of your debtor through every means legally available. To learn more about our contingency based collection services look online.
Mulitple Files or Volume Collections- If you have over 100 delinquent commercial or consumer accounts and are seeking a discounted contingency based service, you can look online for customized software solutions. Some companies have the ability to accept an unlimited number of delinquent accounts in an electronic format, automatically print and mail collection notices, repeatedly report to all major credit bureaus, electronically make thousands of courtesy calls to debtors daily, and batch accounts to obtain updated addresses and phone numbers. This kind of automation can save you time, money and stress.
Contingency Collection Service - Some debt collection agencies enhance traditional collection methods by using a full legal staff, licensed private investigators, and trained collection agents that combine to create the best debt recovery specialists in the country. These companies often accept two (2) categories of debts for contingency based collections:
(1) Non-Judgments - If you have NOT gone to court, but have valid documentation providing proof of the debt.
(2) Judgments - If you have gone to court and received a court judgment.
There are 4 things a debt collector wants to accomplish when you have the debtor on the phone:
1) Eliminate the excuse you hear so that you will never hear it again. There is nothing more boring in accounts receivable than hearing the same excuse over and over again. Not only do you want to address the excuse, but figure out how you can prevent the debtor from using it again.
2) Think ahead to the next excuse you might hear from the debtor in a week or two and eliminate it while you have him/her on the phone now. One of your goals is to speed up your collections. It can be very tedious to take a week or two to work out an excuse and find out that there is yet another excuse that will delay payment even further. Without asking the right questions during the first phone call, you will not be able to determine how many more excuses a debtor has on his/her agenda.
3) Determine whether what the debtor has told you is an excuse or reality. Again, asking the right questions using your call center services will help you determine if what the debtor is telling you is an excuse or not.
4) Create a sense of urgency about getting your bill paid. The debtor may not take you up on your solutions, but in offering them, you are establishing a sense of urgency about getting your bill paid. And if the bill is not important to you, do not expect it to be important to him/her either.
More about debt collection services: Although many collection agencies have experienced tremendous success with the letter package and credit bureau reporting, there are some debtors that respond to personal contact. Collection agency call center services are available to communicate directly with your debtor if you feel it would be helpful. Frequently, a telephone call as a follow up to the initial letter may be the one extra step required to make a collection successful. Experienced collectors will make a "courtesy call" to a debtor approximately 3-10 days following the mailing of the second letter. The purpose of this "courtesy call" is to impress upon your debtor the seriousness of your claim and your desire to resolve it as expeditiously as possible. It should not be the intention to harrass, threaten or scare the debtor. Every call should be handled with the utmost in professionalism and in compliance with all debt collection laws.
In these cases, you would simply provide the debtors' telephone number and best time to contact him and leave the rest to the collection agency. Up to four attempts should be made to contact the debtor on your behalf. He will be notified that he is being called by a collection agency as a follow up to the letter he had received. The collection agent will state that they are calling as your representative and that this is merely a "courtesy call" to explain the importance of your claim. You should be notified immediately of any offer for settlement, payment arrangement or dispute of your claim.
Typical Non-Judgment Submission Requirements:
1. Copies of documentation validating the debt. For example:
cancelled or nsf checks
contracts or agreements
any personal documentation you may have available on the debtor
2. Signed contingency fee agreement
Judgment Collection Service
Look for recovery companies that combine the most technologically advanced methodology with the professionalism of experienced private investigators, skip tracers and nationwide network of attorneys. With a collection team looking for your debtor, monitoring his assets and preparing the necessary legal documentation, the collection agency can simultaneously track your debtor electronically. Your debtor is under surveillance that updates the company immmediately as to any change in financial status.
The Collection Agency's pursuit of your debtor is aggressive and relentless. A good company will never close a file and never ask for any advance fees or costs.
Typical Submission requirements:
Recovery companies should accept non-expired court judgments that have not been discharged in bankruptcy. Any judgments that are the result of an eviction, back rent or concern tenancy issues should be handled through our Rent Recovery Companies.
1. Copy of judgment
2. Copies of any information on the debtor(s). For example:
cancelled or nsf checks
contracts or agreements
any personal documentation you may have available on the debtor
3. Signed contingency fee agreement
by Section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This limit applies regardless of how many garnishment orders an employer receives. As of September 1, 1997, the federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour.
In court orders for child support or alimony, Title III allows up to 50 percent of an employee's disposable earnings to be garnished if the employee is supporting a current spouse or child, and up to 60 percent if the employee is not doing so. An additional five percent may be garnished for support payments over 12 weeks in arrears. The restrictions noted in the preceding paragraph do not apply to such garnishments.
"Disposable earnings" is the amount of earnings left after legally required deductions (e.g., federal, state and local taxes, Social Security, unemployment insurance and state employee retirement systems) have been made. Deductions not required by law (e.g., union dues, health and life insurance, and charitable contributions) are not subtracted from gross earnings when the amount of disposable earnings for garnishment purposes is calculated.
Title III specifies that garnishment restrictions do not apply to bankruptcy court orders and debts due for federal and state taxes. Nor do they affect voluntary wage assignments, i.e., situations where workers voluntarily agree that their employers may turn over a specified amount of their earnings to a creditor or creditors.
In most cases, Title III gives wage earners the right to receive at least partial compensation for the personal services they provide despite wage garnishment. This law also prohibits an employer from discharging an employee because of garnishment of wages for any one indebtedness. The Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration accepts complaints of alleged Title III violations.
Compliance Assistance Available
The Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces Title III. More detailed information, including copies of explanatory brochures and regulatory and interpretative materials, may be obtained by contacting the local Wage and Hour offices (1-866-4USWAGE). Compliance assistance information is available from the Wage and Hour Division's Web site.
Violations of Title III may result in reinstatement of a discharged employee, payment of back wages, and restoration of improperly garnished amounts. Where violations cannot be resolved through informal means, the Department of Labor may initiate court action to restrain violators and remedy violations. Employers who willfully violate the discharge provisions of the law may be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $1,000, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
Relation to State, Local and Other Federal Laws
If a state wage garnishment law differs from Title III, the employer must observe the law resulting in the smaller garnishment, or prohibiting the discharge of an employee because his or her earnings have been subject to garnishment for more than one debt.
There is a little known secret floating around the credit card industry.
If you are a credit card customer who is having problems paying down your bill statements, the easiest way to get back on track isn't by trying out those debt relief programs on television offered by unknown companies who may swindle you out of every last dime that you have. The best debt relief programs might just be available through your own credit card company.
That's right. Your own credit card issuer who has been calling you and sending reminders that your bill is overdue also has internal hardship programs to help people who are in this very predicament. The reason you haven't heard of this might be because you aren't seriously behind on payments (6 months or more) and you have been sending in some type of payment to bring down the balance.
Check your credit card statement. Many have the direct number to the internal hardship department that offers these programs. The programs have various names depending on the company, but most offer the same thing. The credit card issuer can lower your minimum payments, lower the interest rates, offer settlements, or get rid of fees and penalties. Choose the right program that won't put a strain on your finances, and always leave room for negotiation. You'll be surprised on how quickly you'll get out of credit debt.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|