Think back to your last income tax return. Did you owe Uncle Sam a lot of money, or did he give you a big refund? Whatever your situation, you can influence next year's outcome by adjusting your payroll withholding.
Remember the IRS Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, your employer asked you to complete on your first day? "The number of personal allowances you designate on Form W-4 determines the amount of federal income tax withheld from each paycheck," explains TaxAct spokesperson Jessi Dolmage. "The total amount withheld for the year is credited against your income tax liability."
You can modify your withholding at any time of year by submitting a new Form W-4 to your employer. In order to minimize taxes owed at the time of filing, set your allowances to zero on your W-4. To increase take-home pay but potentially owe more money at tax time, increase your allowances.
Each of the following should be counted as one allowance:
If you have income from multiple jobs or your spouse works, withholding is usually the most accurate when counting all allowances on the W-4 for the highest paying job. Then claim zero allowances on W-4s for all other jobs.
Fortunately, there are free and easy solutions to help you calculate the appropriate withholding. The IRS offers Publication 505 and a withholding calculator at www.irs.gov.
TaxAct also offers a free withholding calculator. "After registering for TaxAct, click on the 'Next Year' tab to answer simple questions about your allowances," says Dolmage. "TaxAct will also complete a new Form W-4 that you can print and give to your employer."
Self-employed individuals should calculate net income and estimated taxes owed each quarter. Submit your quarterly estimated taxes along with Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.
To adjust withholding for unemployment or social security payments, give Form W-4V to the payer. Submit Form W-4P to payers of pension, annuity and other deferred compensation.
In addition to reviewing your withholding when you get a new job, it's important to review your withholding whenever experiencing a major life change, such as:
If you live in an income-taxing state and want to adjust your state withholding, you'll need to complete the appropriate withholding form for your state.
April 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during March, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.
April 15 — Individuals *2017 Filing Deadline: 04-17, 2018*
File a 2017 income tax return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6 month extension of time to file the return, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. For more information, see Form 4868. Then, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by 10-15.
April 15 — Corporations *2017 Filing Deadline: 04-17, 2018*
File a 2017 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax due. Details
April 15 — Individuals
If you are not paying your 2018 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2018 estimated tax. Use Form 1040ES.
April 15 — Household Employers
If you paid cash wages of $2,000 or more in 2017 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H Details
April 15 — Corporations
Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2017 Details
April 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.
April 15 — Household employers
If you paid cash wages of $$2,000 or more in 2017 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H (Form 1040). If you are required to file a federal income tax return (Form 1040), file Schedule H (Form 1040) with the return and report any household employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H (Form 1040) if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2016 or 2017 to household employees. Also, report any income tax you withheld for your household employees.
April 30 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2018. Deposit or pay any undeposited tax under the accuracy of deposit rules. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full, you have until 05-10 to file the return.
April 30 — Federal unemployment tax.
Deposit the tax owed through 03-if more than $500.