Have you checked your tax withholding lately?
Provided By: Duane J. Silbernagel, CFP®
If you were unpleasantly surprised by the amount of tax you owed or the amount of your tax refund when you filed your 2018 tax return, it may be time to check your withholding.
It may also be time if there are changes in your life or financial situation that affect your tax liability. For example, have you recently married, divorced, had a child, purchased a new home, changed jobs, or had a change in the amount of your taxable income not subject to withholding (e.g., capital gains)?
You can generally change the amount of federal tax you have withheld from your paycheck by giving a new Form W-4 to your employer. You can use a number of worksheets for the Form W-4 or the IRS Withholding Calculator (available at irs.gov ) to help you plan your tax withholding strategy.
If changes reduce the number of allowances you are permitted to claim or your marital status changes from married to single, you must give your employer a new Form W-4 within 10 days. You can generally submit a new Form W-4 whenever you wish to change your withholding allowances for any other reason.
In general, you can claim various withholding allowances on the Form W-4 based on your tax filing status and the tax credits, itemized deductions (or any additional standard deduction for age or blindness), and adjustments to income that you expect to claim. You might increase the tax withheld or claim fewer allowances if you have a large amount of nonwage income. (If you have a significant amount of nonwage income, you might also consider making estimated tax payments using IRS Form 1040-ES.) The amount withheld can also be adjusted to reflect that you have more than one job at a time and whether you and your spouse both work. You might reduce the amount of tax withheld by increasing the amount of allowances you claim (to the extent permissible) on the Form W-4.
You can claim exemption from withholding for the current year if: (1) for the prior year, you were entitled to a refund of all federal income tax withheld because you had no tax liability; and (2) for the current year, you expect a refund of all federal income tax withheld because you expect to have no tax liability.
Do I need to pay estimated tax?
Taxpayers are required to pay most of their tax obligation during the year by having tax withheld from their paychecks or pension payments, or by making estimated tax payments. Estimated tax is the primary method used to pay tax on income that isn’t subject to withholding. This typically includes income from self-employment, interest, dividends, and gain from the sale of assets. Estimated tax is used to pay both income tax and self-employment tax, as well as other taxes reported on your income tax return.
Generally, you must pay federal estimated tax for the current year if: (1) you expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for the current year, and (2) you expect your tax withholding and refundable tax credits to be less than the smaller of (a) 90% of the tax on your tax return for the current year, or (b) 100% of the tax on your tax return for the previous year (your tax return for the previous year must cover 12 months).
There are special rules for farmers, fishermen, and certain high-income taxpayers. If at least two-thirds of your gross income is from farming or fishing, you can substitute 66-2/3% for 90% in general rule (2)(a) above. If your adjusted gross income for the previous year was more than $150,000 ($75,000 if you were married and filed a separate return for that year), you must substitute 110% for 100% in general rule (2)(b) above.
If all of your income is subject to withholding, you probably don’t need to pay estimated tax. If you have taxes withheld by an employer, you may be able to avoid having to make estimated tax payments, even on your nonwage income, by increasing the amount withheld from your paycheck.
You can use Form 1040-ES and its worksheets to figure your estimated tax. They can help you determine the amount you should pay for the year through withholding and estimated tax payments to avoid paying a penalty. The year is divided into four payment periods. After you have determined your total estimated tax for the year, you then determine how much you should pay by the due date of each payment period to avoid a penalty for that period. If you don’t pay enough during any payment period, you may owe a penalty even if you are due a refund when you file your tax return.
Withholding and estimated tax payments may also be required for state and local taxes.
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Duane Silbernagel is a Financial Advisor in Lincoln City, Oregon offering securities through Waddell & Reed, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. He can be reached at (541) 614-1322 or via email at DSilbernagel@wradvisors.com.
This article is meant to be general in nature and should not be construed as investment or financial advice related to your personal situation. The article was written by an independent third party, Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. (Copyright 2019) and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Waddell& Reed is not affiliated with www.newslincolncounty.com website and is not responsible for any other content posted to this website. (07/19)