We made a garnishment payment to an attorney (not a court-selected bankruptcy trustee), but they refuse to provide their TIN and are arguing that it isn't a reportable payment. Are we allowed to backup withhold on the payment?

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You sent us back to the IRS for this one—generally in a garnishment situation, the full payment amount, including the garnished amount, is reported only to the beneficial owner, and there is no reporting of payment of the garnished portion to whatever party receives the garnishment.  

We wondered if there was an attorney exception to this. We spoke with IRS information reporting specialist Ms. Alampi (ID#1000705414), and she said no. You should not report the garnished amount to the attorney. The full amount of compensation, including the garnished amount, is reported to the beneficial owner—on a W-2 if it’s an employee, or 1099 if it’s a contractor.

So the attorney in this case was correct.

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