IRS encourages ‘paycheck checkup’ for taxpayers to check their withholding

Written on Apr 02, 2018

Launching a special week of activities, the IRS is encouraging tax professionals to help clients do a “paycheck checkup” to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks for their personal situation.

To help taxpayers understand the implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS unveiled several new features to help people navigate the issues affecting withholding in their paychecks. The effort includes a new series of plain language Tax Tips, a YouTube video series and other special efforts to help people understand the importance of checking their withholding as soon as possible.

The new tax law could affect how much tax someone should have their employer withhold from their paycheck. To help with this, the IRS urged taxpayers to visit the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov. The Withholding Calculator can help prevent employees from having too little or too much tax withheld from their paycheck. Having too little tax withheld can mean an unexpected tax bill or potentially a penalty at tax time in 2019. And with the average refund topping $2,800, some taxpayers might prefer to have less tax withheld up front and receive more in their paychecks.

Taxpayers can use the Withholding Calculator to estimate their 2018 income tax. The Withholding Calculator compares that estimate to the taxpayer’s current tax withholding and can help them decide if they need to change their withholding with their employer. When using the calculator, it’s helpful to have a completed 2017 tax return available.

Taxpayers who need to adjust their withholding will need to submit a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to their employer. If an employee needs to adjust their withholding, doing so as quickly as possible means there’s more time for tax withholding to take place evenly during the rest of the year. But waiting until later in the year means there are fewer pay periods to make the tax changes – which could have a bigger impact on each paycheck.

The IRS is launching a sweeping effort to advise taxpayers about the importance of doing a “paycheck checkup” as soon as possible. In addition to updating the Withholding Calculator and issuing a new Form W-4, the agency is collaborating with tax professionals, partner organizations, employers, community groups and the tax and payroll industries to educate employers and employees about the importance of checking their withholding.

The law increased the standard deduction, removed personal exemptions, increased the child tax credit, limited or discontinued certain deductions and changed the tax rates and brackets.

When personal circumstances change that reduce withholding allowances they are entitled to claim, including divorce, starting a second job, or a child no longer being a dependent, an employee has 10 days to submit a new Form W-4 to their employer claiming the proper number of withholding allowances.

Taxpayers can use the results from the Withholding Calculator to determine if they should complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, and, if so, what information to put on it.

If changes to withholding should be made, the Withholding Calculator gives employees the information they need to fill out a new Form W-4. Employees will submit the completed Form W-4 to their employer.

IRS YouTube Videos:

Paycheck Checkup

IRS Withholding Calculator Tips

Do I Need to Fill Out a New W-4?

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