Taxpayers Should Review Your Tax Withholding Mid-Year
Avoid Having Too Much or Too Little Federal Income Tax Withheld if You Review Your Tax Withholding
The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to consider that they review your tax withholding, keeping in mind several factors that could affect potential refunds or taxes they may owe in 2018.
Reviewing the amount of taxes withheld can help taxpayers avoid having too much or too little federal income tax taken from their paychecks. Having the correct amount taken out helps to move taxpayers closer to a zero balance at the end of the year when they file their tax return, which means no taxes owed or refund due.
During the year, changes sometimes occur in a taxpayer’s life, such as in their marital status, that impacts exemptions, adjustments or credits that they will claim on their tax return. When this happens, they need to give their employer a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to change their withholding status or number of allowances.
Employers use the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to be withheld from pay. Review your tax withholding in the late summer or early fall can give taxpayers enough time to adjust their withholdings before the tax year ends in December.
The withholding review takes on even more importance now that federal law requires the IRS to hold refunds a few weeks for some early filers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. In addition, the steps the IRS and state tax administrators are now taking to strengthen protections against identity theft and refund fraud mean some tax returns could face additional review time next year. By doing a review of your tax withholding, some of these problems would be eliminated.
So far in 2017, the IRS has issued more than 106 million tax refunds out of the 142 million total individual tax returns processed, with the average refund well over $2,700. Historically, refund dollar amounts have increased over time.
Making a Withholding Adjustment
In many cases, a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, is all that is needed to make an adjustment. Taxpayers submit it to their employer, and the employer uses the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to be withheld from their employee’s pay.
The IRS offers several online resources to help taxpayers bring taxes paid closer to what they owe. They are available anytime on IRS.gov. They include:
IRS Withholding Calculator – Online tool helps determine the correct amount of tax to withhold.
IRS Publication 505 – Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.
Tax Withholding – Complete information on withholding, estimated taxes, FAQs, and more.
Self-employed taxpayers, including those involved in the sharing economy, can use the Form 1040-ES worksheet to correctly figure their estimated tax payments. If they also work for an employer, they can often forgo making these quarterly payments by instead having more tax taken out of their pay. Review your tax withholding now, and stop getting those high refunds.
Many taxpayers like to use the IRS as a savings account by planning to get a large refund. They use that money for vacations, paying against credit cards, and other purposes. They fail to realize that their money is held by the IRS, pays no interest, plus they have to file a tax return to get it back. If for some reason tax refunds are delayed, it makes matters worse.
We can’t emphasize enough…review your tax withholding now, and try to even out with your tax liability. This just makes good business sense, plus you’ll have use of that money during the year. Better yet, have your employer use some of the extra withholding to invest in their retirement plan.
Gust Lenglet is the CEO of HBS Financial Group, Ltd., an accounting & tax preparation firm in Maryland. He has more than 25 years of experience in the banking and financial industry. Gust started his career as a loan officer at a major national bank, and then moved on to become controller of a major law firm. In recent years, he has written many financial articles that have been published on Ezine Articles and many websites.