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Earnings Withholding Orders for Taxes (EWOT) - Employer Information

What is an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes (EWOT)?

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) defines an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes (EWOT) as a wage garnishment that continuously seizes a percentage of a taxpayer's earnings until we release the order. We issue an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes for employees who owe a state tax liability or a debt that FTB is authorized to collect as a state tax liability. (Revenue and Tax Code Sections 10878, 19280 and 19290, and California Code of Civil Procedure Section 706.074)

Employer Responsibilities

If you receive our Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes (EWOT), you must:

  • Deliver Employee's Copy Pages 1A and 1B, and Employee's Copy Page 3 of the EWOT to your employee within 10 days of receiving it.
  • Complete and return the Employer's Acknowledgement, Page 2A (and Page 2B if applicable) of the EWOT to us within 15 days of receiving it.
  • Include a copy of Employer's Copy Page 1A of our EWOT with every payment you send to us.
  • Send us the first payment at the end of the next pay period that occurs at least 15 days after you received our EWOT.
  • Keep sending us payments until the EWOT balance is paid, or until we release this legal order. Send us these subsequent payments within 10 days of each pay period's end date. Or send us a combined payment for each month's pay period(s) within 15 days of the end of each month.
  • Note: If your employee does not meet the withholding criteria, you still must complete Employer's Acknowledgement, Page 2A of the EWOT and send it to us.

You must perform these actions to comply with our legal order. It is illegal not to comply, and we may hold you personally responsible for the tax debt if you do not comply. You also cannot avoid making EWOT payments by postponing or advancing your employee's wages.

Because you are legally required to comply with our EWOT's terms, you are not liable to your employee for sending us the payments and information requested. However, if we refund any of these payments to you, then you must provide these funds to the employee. In such cases, you are fully liable for the employee's funds refunded to you.

How to process an EWOT payment -- including payment instructions

Step 1 - Determine your employee's disposable earnings.

  • Calculate your employee's gross earnings, which include bonuses and commissions.
  • Then subtract the lawful deductions below from gross earnings:
    • Federal income tax.
    • Social security.
    • State income tax.
    • State disability.

    Important: Do not subtract any of the following from gross earnings:

    • 401(k) contributions.
    • Health benefit deductions.
    • Court-ordered assignments for support (for example: child support, spousal support).
    • Voluntary deductions.

Step 2 - Once you determine the amount of disposable earnings, find the withholding amount on the chart below. Or use our withholding calculator to determine the withholding amount.

If your pay periods are And your employee's
disposable earnings are
Withhold and send this amount
Use the instructions on PAGE 1A in box 5.
Weekly $0 -  $217.50 None
$217.51 - $290.00 Amount above $217.50
$290.01 or more 25% of the disposable earnings
Every Two Weeks
(Biweekly)
$0 - $435.00 None
$435.01 - $580.00 Amount above $435.00
$580.01 or more 25% of the disposable earnings
Twice a Month
(Semimonthly)
$0 - $471.25 None
$471.26 - $628.28 Amount above $471.25
$628.29 or more 25% of the disposable earnings
Monthly $0 - $942.50 None
$942.51 - $1,256.00 Amount above $942.50
$1,256.01 or more 25% of the disposable earnings

Note: Applicable interest, penalties, and fees will accrue on the taxpayer's account until the entire tax balance is paid. As a result, we may issue another EWOT to collect any accrued tax debt.

Step 3 - Send the information and payments noted below.

Information to send:

  1. Deliver Employee's Copy Pages 1A and 1B, and Page 3 of the EWOT to the employee within 10 days of receiving it.
  2. Complete and return the Employer's Acknowledgement, Page 2A (and Page 2B if applicable) of the EWOT to us within 15 days of receiving it.

Payment instructions:

  1. Make your check or money order payable to the Franchise Tax Board.
  2. Write your employee's name and account number (as shown on the order) on each payment.
  3. Include the date you withheld the funds and a copy of Employer's Copy Page 1A of our EWOT with every payment.
  4. Send us the first payment at the end of the next pay period that occurs at least 15 days after you received our EWOT.
  5. Keep sending us payments until the EWOT balance is paid, or until we release this legal order. Send us these subsequent payments within 10 days of each pay period's end date. Or send us a combined payment for each month's pay period(s) within 15 days of the end of each month.
  6. Do not write your employee's social security number on the payment envelope.

Address for EWOT payment and requested information

Send us the items listed above in the enclosed return envelope. If you do not have a return envelope, send them to:

Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942867
Sacramento CA 94267-0011

Employer reimbursement for processing an EWOT

You can deduct $1.50 from the employee's pay for each EWOT payment you send to us.

Electronic funds transfer option

You can send EWOT payments to us by electronic funds transfer. For more information, go to our Electronic Funds Transfer Web page or contact us at 916.845.4025.

Changing your address

Call us at 800.852.5711, or at the phone number on the EWOT. You can also send us a complete FTB 3533. In addition, you should update your address with the Employment Development Department (EDD). Call them at 888.745.3886, or visit their website at www.edd.ca.gov.

Frequently asked questions for employers

  1. My employee said that withholding 25 percent of their wages would create a hardship. Can payroll adjust the deduction?
  2. My employee already has another levy in place. What should I do with the order that your department has sent me?
  3. Do I need to call the Franchise Tax Board when I receive an order?
  4. The employee is no longer with my company. What should I do with the order?
  5. My employee told me that their spouse is also being levied. Do I still need to levy my employee?
  6. The employee is on leave of absence, out on workers' compensation, or out on disability. What should I do?
  7. The social security number on your order does not match the number I have for the employee. What should I do?
  8. The name of my employee does not match the name on your order. However, the social security number is the same. What should I do?
  9. I have no record of this employee. What should I do?
  10. I have been honoring a Franchise Tax Board order and have just received a new one. What should I do?
  11. I have received orders for more than one employee. Can I send one check?
  12. My employee has told me that other arrangements have been made with the Franchise Tax Board. What should I do?
  13. My employee filed bankruptcy, brought me the court documents, and told me to stop sending payments to your department. What should I do?
  14. What is a Modification of Order to Withhold Tax?
  15. How do I process a Modification Order?
  16. How can I contact your department if I need help processing an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes?
  17. How do I report my business name or address change?
  1. My employee said that withholding 25 percent of their wages would create a hardship. Can payroll adjust the deduction?

    No. Only the Franchise Tax Board can reduce the amount withheld on the order. Provide your employee with your payroll fax number, and encourage them to call us at 800.689.4776. In many cases, we can arrange a payment plan. If a payment plan is arranged, we will release the order. If we release the order, we will fax and mail you the release.

  2. My employee already has another levy in place. What should I do with the order that your department has sent me?
    If the existing levy is from... Then...
    A state agency, and is for a liability other than taxes (such as Department of Motor Vehicles fees) Pay our order. Our order has priority and the non-tax levy is put on hold until our order is paid in full or released.
    A civil judgment (such as small claims court) Pay our order. Our order has priority and the civil judgment is put on hold until our order is paid in full or released.
    A court-ordered levy of wages for child or spousal support that is less than 25 percent of your employee's disposable earnings Pay our order. However, pay us the remaining amount not to exceed 25 percent of your employee's disposable earnings. For example, if the court ordered garnishment takes 13 percent of disposable earnings, send us an amount not to exceed 12 percent of disposable earnings.
    A court-ordered levy of wages for child or spousal support that is equal to 25 percent of your employee's disposable earnings Do not pay our order. A court-ordered levy that takes 25 percent of disposable earnings has priority over our order.
    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levy of wages for taxes that is less than 25 percent of your employee's disposable earnings Pay our order. However, pay us the remaining amount not to exceed 25 percent of your employee's disposable earnings. For example, if the IRS garnishment takes 13 percent of disposable earnings, send us an amount not to exceed 12 percent of disposable earnings.
    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levy of wages for taxes that is equal to 25 percent of your employee's disposable earnings Do not pay our order. The IRS levy that takes 25 percent of disposable earnings has priority over our order.
    Another state taxing agency (such as the Employment Development Department or the Board of Equalization) Do not pay our order. Our order is not effective. Please complete Part 2 of our order and return it to us within 15 days from the date you received it.
  3. Do I need to call the Franchise Tax Board when I receive an order?

    No. Complete and return the Employer's Acknowledgement, Page 2A (and Page 2B if applicable) of the EWOT to us within 15 days of receiving it.

  4. The employee is no longer with my company. What should I do with the order?
    • If the employee no longer works for you and left within the past 12 months, complete Employer's Acknowledgement, Page 2A of the order and return it using the envelope provided.
    • If the employee is expected to return to work within 12 months of the date of termination, you must begin to withhold wages as directed on Page 1B, when the employee returns to work.
  5. My employee told me that their spouse is also being levied. Do I still need to levy my employee?

    Yes.

  6. The employee is on leave of absence, out on workers' compensation, or out on disability. What should I do?

    The order remains in effect if there are no earnings. Complete Employer's Acknowledgement, Page 2A of the order and begin to withhold when the employee returns to work.

  7. The social security number on your order does not match the number I have for the employee. What should I do?

    Please call us at 800.689.4776. We will analyze the account to determine the correct name and number.

  8. The name of my employee does not match the name on your order. However, the social security number is the same. What should I do?

    Please call us at 800.689.4776. We will analyze the account to determine the correct name and number.

  9. I have no record of this employee. What should I do?

    Return Employer's Acknowledgement, Page 2A of the order indicating that you have no record of this employee.

  10. I have been honoring a Franchise Tax Board order and have just received a new one. What should I do?

    If you receive a second order from us, continue to pay on the first garnishment. The second garnishment is not effective. Please follow the instructions on Page 2B of the second order and return it to us within 15 days in the envelope provided.

  11. I have received orders for more than one employee. Can I send one check?

    Yes. On your check you must identify the employee's name, social security number, tax years, and the amount withheld for each employee. You can also send us the payments via electronic funds transfer. For more information, go to our Electronic Funds Transfer Web page or contact us at 916.845.4025.

  12. My employee has told me that other arrangements have been made with the Franchise Tax Board. What should I do?

    You must make payments to us as directed by our order. We will notify you if payments are to be stopped or adjusted.

  13. My employee filed bankruptcy, brought me the court documents, and told me to stop sending payments to your department. What should I do?

    Please call us at 916.845.4750. We will analyze whether your employee's bankruptcy impacts our levy. We may need the employee to provide us with the bankruptcy documentation before we make a final determination.

  14. What is a Modification of Order to Withhold Tax?

    A Modification of Order to Withhold Tax is a change to the original terms of the Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes. We issue a Modification Order because:

    • There may have been changes to the payment terms from the original Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes.
    • The levy amount may have caused undue hardship.

    A Modification Order takes precedence over the original Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes. You are legally required to honor a Modification Order.

  15. How do I process a Modification Order?

    Please give Part 2 of the Modification Order to your employee and keep Part 1 for your records. The modified amount you need to send us can be found on the middle of Part 1 of the Modification Order. When sending us payments, please also send us a copy of the Modification Order. Payment and mailing instructions can be found at the bottom page of the Modification Order.

  16. How can I contact your department if I need help processing an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes?

    If you need help, please call us at our toll-free number 800.689.4776. We have representatives available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Our representatives are not available on state holidays.

  17. How do I report my business name or address change?

    Call us at 800.852.5711. You must also contact the Employment Development Department (EDD) at 888.745.3886 or visit their website: www.edd.ca.gov

Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes glossary terms

We define the terms below to help you better understand an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes.

Disposable earnings:
The amount of your employee's earnings left over after subtracting lawful deductions from gross earnings.

Lawful deductions include:

  • Federal income tax.
  • Social security.
  • State income tax.
  • State disability.

Deductions that are not counted in figuring disposable earnings are:

  • 401(k) contributions.
  • Health benefit deductions.
  • Court-ordered assignments for support.
  • Other voluntary deductions.

To calculate disposable earnings, subtract the lawful deductions from gross earnings.

Gross earnings:
Wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, vacation pay, or anything else you pay your employees for personal services. Do not include tips as earnings, because your employees do not earn them from you.
Levy:
A legal court order that compels a third party to withhold part of an individual's wages to satisfy a debt. (Sometimes a levy is referred to as a wage garnishment.)
Release:
A legal order that discharges you from responsibility to comply with a wage garnishment.
Withholding amount:
The amount you are required to withhold from your employee's disposable earnings. The withholding amount is what you should send to us.

Frequently asked questions for employees

  1. What is an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes?
  2. Why did I receive an Earnings Withholding Order?
  3. I received an Earnings Withholding Order and it creates a financial hardship for me. Can I get the wage garnishment payment reduced?
  4. I filed bankruptcy and received an Earnings Withholding Order. What should I do?
  1. What is an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes?

    The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) defines an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes (EWOT) as a wage garnishment that continuously seizes a percentage of a taxpayer's earnings until we release the order. We issue an Earnings Withholding Order for Taxes for employees who owe a state tax liability or a debt that FTB is authorized to collect as a state tax liability. (Revenue and Tax Code Sections 10878, 19280 and 19290, and California Code of Civil Procedure Section 706.074)

  2. Why did I receive an Earnings Withholding Order?

    We issued the order to collect a liability you owe. The liability could be for taxes, delinquent court-ordered debt, or vehicle registration collections. The addressee has been instructed to freeze all credits or payments (up to the amount due) for 10 business days. After 10 business days, the funds will be sent to our office and applied to your delinquent account. We are authorized to issue orders under the California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 19280 and 18670. If you have any questions, you can call the telephone number shown on your copy of the order.

  3. I received an Earnings Withholding Order and it creates a financial hardship for me. Can I get the wage garnishment payment reduced?

    We can modify a wage garnishment payment when a hardship exists - but we cannot reduce the total balance due. To discuss a financial hardship, please call us at the telephone number shown on your copy of the order. Make sure you have your company's payroll tax number available in case we modify your garnishment.

  4. I filed bankruptcy and received an Earnings Withholding Order. What should I do?

    Please call us at the telephone number shown on your copy of the order to discuss your account and to fax us a copy of your bankruptcy petition. We will review your documents and determine if our order must be released.