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Now is a Good Time to Check Your Withholding

  • May 2019 | by Abbott Pratt & Associates

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    It’s a good time to check your withholding and make changes, if necessary.

    If you were listening to the news during tax season you would have heard that the 2019 filing season resulted in surprises. Some filers who have gotten a refund in past years wound up owing money. The IRS reports that the number of refunds paid this year is down from last year — and the average refund is lower.

    Of course, receiving a tax refund shouldn’t necessarily be your goal. It essentially means you’re giving the government an interest-free loan.

    Law changes and withholding

    Last year, the IRS updated the withholding tables that indicate how much employers should hold back from their employees’ paychecks. In general, the amount withheld was reduced.

    The new tables may have provided the correct amount of tax withholding for some individuals, but they might have caused other taxpayers to not have enough money withheld to pay their ultimate tax liabilities.

    Conduct a “paycheck checkup”

    The IRS is cautioning taxpayers to review their tax situations for this year and adjust withholding, if appropriate.

    Situations where changes are needed

    There are a number of situations when you should check your withholding. In addition to tax law changes:

    • Adjusted your withholding in 2018, especially in the middle or later part of the year,
    • Owed additional tax when you filed your 2018 return,
    • Received a refund that was smaller or larger than expected,
    • Got married or divorced, had a child or adopted one,
    • Purchased a home, or
    • Had changes in income.

    You can modify your withholding at any time during the year, or even multiple times within a year. To do so, you simply submit a new Form W-4 to your employer. Changes typically go into effect several weeks after a new Form W-4 is submitted. (For estimated tax payments, you can make adjustments each time quarterly estimated payments are due. The next payment is due on Monday, June 17.)

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