WASHINGTON –The Internal Revenue Service today released an updated Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov and a new version of Form W-4 to help taxpayers check their 2018 tax withholding following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December.
The IRS urges taxpayers to use these tools to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks.
“Following the major changes in the tax law, the IRS encourages employees to check their paychecks to help ensure they’re having the right amount of tax withheld for their personal situation,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made changes to the tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, removing personal exemptions, increasing the child tax credit, limiting or discontinuing certain deductions and changing the tax rates and brackets.
If changes to withholding should be made, the Withholding Calculator gives employees the information they need to fill out a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employees will submit the completed W-4 to their employer.
“Withholding issues can be complicated, and the calculator is designed to help employees make changes based on their personal financial situation,” Kautter said. “Taking a few minutes can help taxpayers ensure they don’t have too little – or too much – withheld from their paycheck.”
The withholding changes do not affect 2017 tax returns due this April. However, having a completed 2017 tax return can help taxpayers work with the Withholding Calculator to determine their proper withholding for 2018 and avoid issues when they file next year.
Steps to Help Taxpayers: Do a “Paycheck Checkup”
The IRS encourages employees to use the Withholding Calculator to perform a quick “paycheck checkup.” An employee checking their withholding can help protect against having too little tax withheld and facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time in 2019. It can also prevent employees from having too much tax withheld; with the average refund topping $2,800, some taxpayers might prefer to have less tax withheld up front and receive more in their paychecks.
The Withholding Calculator can be used by taxpayers who want to update their withholding in response to the new law or who start a new job or have other changes in their personal circumstances in 2018.
As a first step to reflect the tax law changes, the IRS released new withholding tables in January. These tables were designed to produce the correct amount of tax withholding — avoiding under- and over-withholding of tax — for those with simple tax situations. This means that people with simple situations might not need to make any changes. Simple situations include singles and married couples with only one job, who have no dependents, and who have not claimed itemized deductions, adjustments to income or tax credits.
People with more complicated financial situations might need to revise their W-4. With the new tax law changes, it’s especially important for these people to use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to make sure they have the right amount of withholding.
Among the groups who should check their withholding are:
Taxpayers with more complex situations might need to use Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, expected to be available on IRS.gov in early spring, instead of the Withholding Calculator. This includes those who owe self-employment tax, the alternative minimum tax, or tax on unearned income from dependents, and people who have capital gains and dividends.
Plan Ahead: Tips for Using the Withholding Calculator
The Withholding Calculator asks taxpayers to estimate their 2018 income and other items that affect their taxes, including the number of children claimed for the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and other items.
Take a few minutes and plan ahead to make using the calculator on IRS.gov as easy as possible. Here are some tips:
This spring and throughout the year, the IRS will be working closely with businesses as well as the tax and payroll communities to help educate the public about the new withholding guidelines and the Withholding Calculator.
For 2019, the IRS plans to make further changes involving withholding. The agency will work with businesses and the tax and payroll communities to explain and implement these additional changes.
More information is available in the special Withholding Calculator Frequently Asked Questions.