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  • IRS.gov/IRS Publication

Paycheck Checkup

Everyone should check their withholding

It's important to revisit your tax withholding after major changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. A Paycheck Checkup can help you see if you’re withholding the right amount of tax from your paychecks. Too little could mean an unexpected tax bill or penalty.

You will need your . . .

most recent pay stubs most recent income tax returnUse our calculator

You should check your withholding if you  . . .

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Are a two-income family or someone with multiple jobs

Families with two incomes or someone who has multiple jobs  may be more vulnerable to being underwithheld or overwithheld following major law changes. The Withholding Calculator can help navigate the complexities of multiple-employer tax situations and determine the correct amount of tax for each employer to withhold.

Work a seasonal job or only work part of the year

Any changes that a part-year employee makes to their withholding can affect each paycheck in a larger way than employees who work year-round. The Withholding Calculator can help taxpayers with part-year employment estimate their income, credits, adjustments and deductions more accurately and check if they have the right amount of tax withheld for their situation.

Claim the child tax credit

The law expanded and made significant changes to the Child Tax Credit. It also suspended the deduction for personal exemptions. Parents and caregivers should do a Paycheck Checkup to determine how these changes could affect their tax situation.

Have dependents age 17 or older

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act added a new credit. Dependents who can’t be claimed for the Child Tax Credit may qualify taxpayers for the Credit for Other Dependents. This is a credit of up to $500 per qualifying person. Parents and caregivers should do a Paycheck Checkup to determine how these changes could affect their tax situation.

Itemized your deductions in previous tax years

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled standard deductions and changed several itemized deductions. Some individuals who formerly itemized may now find it more beneficial to take the standard deduction. This change could affect how much a taxpayer should have their employer withhold from their pay. Even those who continue to itemize deductions should check their withholding because of these changes.

Have high income or a complex tax return

A Paycheck Checkup is especially important for taxpayers with high incomes and complex returns because they are likely affected by more of the changes in the law than people with simpler returns. A Paycheck Checkup is also important for taxpayers who make quarterly estimated tax payments to cover other sources of income or those who are subject to the self-employment tax or alternative minimum tax.

Had a large tax refund last year

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made major changes to the tax law. Any of these far-reaching changes could affect refund amounts. The IRS encourages everyone , including those who typically receive large refunds, to do a Paycheck Checkup to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their pay. 

Had a tax bill last year

Taxpayers who owed additional tax when they filed their last federal tax return can avoid another unexpected tax bill next year by doing a Paycheck Checkup.

 You can use the results from the Withholding Calculator to determine if you should:

complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, and submit it to your employer.complete a new Form W-4P, Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, and submit it to your payer.make an additional or estimated tax payment to the IRS before the end of the year. 

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