Income Withholding

State and federal law require DCS issue a wage or income withholding notice when an employee’s child support order contains withholding language.

DCS sends a withholding notice even if the employee (or independent contractor) is not behind in child support payments.

  • Notices are effective the day they are received.
  • State and Federal laws do not require DCS to give the employee advance notice.
  • DCS sends withholding notices by regular mail, certified mail or personal service.
  • You must return the “Answer” form within 20 days after receiving the notice.

Withholding:

  • Withhold the amount asked for on the form and send it to DCS within 7 working days of each payday.
  • State law does not allow withholding of more than 50 percent of the employee’s net income (disposable earnings).
  • Disposable earnings are the wages left after taking out taxes and mandatory fees.
  • Tax deductions include FICA, income taxes, Labor and Industries (unemployment insurance).
  • Fees include union dues, and some retirement deductions.
  • Wages of an independent contractor or employee include bonuses, commissions and draws against earnings.
  • Tips and gratuities under an employer’s control are subject to collection action.
  • Convert housing, rent and other benefits paid instead of wages to dollar amounts and count them as part of net wages.

Other States’ Withholding Orders:

  • The federal income withholding order may come from Washington or any other state.
  • Follow Washington State law and do not exceed the 50 percent of net withholding limit.
  • If you receive orders from more than one state telling you to withhold from the parent’s earnings, call us immediately at: 800-457-6202.

Failure to Withhold:

  • DCS holds employers responsible for payment of all child support money required to be taken from wages.
  • Your failure to honor a notice, or deduct and send wages to DCS can result in a finding of liability for the full child support debt and a fine.