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Wage Garnishment for Self-Employed Individuals and Business Owners

For those individuals who do not have a “job” but are instead self-employed or sole proprietors, then your creditors who have obtained judgments against you cannot garnish your wages – you have none! However, there are several ways, sometimes more intrusive than an ordinary wage garnishment, a creditor with a judgment against you can get his or her money from you.

First, your creditor can instruct the Sheriff’s department to conduct a “till tap” at your place of business. A till tap is basically where the a sheriff’s deputy comes to your business and empties out your cash register. The Sheriff’s deputy comes at whatever time is convenient for him and basically takes all the money you have on the premises and leaves. Keep in mind that the creditor usually does this at some point in time during business hours and possibly just following your busiest time of day! Yes, that means your customers or clients will see the sheriff’s department at your business, emptying out your cash register. Despite the ridiculous questions you will need to answer, think about how this will look if you tell your business associates and clientele that you simply refused to pay on and debt you owe and now the Sheriff’s department is coming to collect on behalf of your creditor.

Second, your creditor could choose to instruct the Sheriff’s department to post a “keeper” at your place of business, and he or she may stay at your business for as little as a few hours or for the entire business day! In Orange County, the creditor can instruct that the Sheriff’s department post a keeper at your place of business for 8 hours, 48 hours, or for an “open end” amount of time, which is basically where the Sheriff’s department takes an inventory of all your assets located at the business premises and arranges for all of your assets to be moved to storage until they can be sold at a public auction for rock-bottom prices. Clearly, you would lose out in the deal because the rock-bottom prices would probably barely put a dent in the debt you owe, and the fact that the Sheriff’s department was at your business for HOURS cannot help you business or your reputation. Also, the fact that the Sheriff’s department seized all of your inventory not only affects your reputation but puts a serious wrench into your business’ cash flow. Losing all of the inventory in your store front can single-handedly ruin your business and force you out of business.

Third, your creditor may also look to simply levy on your bank account, and all your creditor needs to provide to the Sheriff’s department is the name and address of your bank. Businesses ordinarily run on budgets that are pre-planned, sometimes planned even months ahead. If you were informed that your bank account had no money in it because your creditor simply took everything in your account, that could stop your business in its tracks.

It is important to note that all of these collection tactics are at YOUR expense. The creditor will simply add it to the total amount you owe as a “cost.” Really, you are simply accruing interest on the unpaid amount and paying your creditor to place a till tap, a keeper, or levy on your business account. Don’t let the situation escalate to this point!

Once your creditor gets a judgment against you, it is good for forever, they must simply renew the judgment every ten years. If the judgment is valuable enough, it is highly likely the creditor will renew and hope to recoup the amount you owe. An Orange County Bankruptcy and Debt Attorney can help you decide and weigh all the options and alternatives available to you so that you can make the best decision possible.

 

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