Author Topic: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?  (Read 939 times)

ysette9

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Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« on: January 22, 2018, 10:23:54 AM »
I have done some searching online and haven’t found any calculators that will help me estimate 2018 taxes with the impact of the new law. My paycheck just reduced federal withholding but I am in a blue state, and so expect to be punished by this change in tax law. I’d like to jump on increasing my withholding did that is what needs to be done.

What recommendations do you have?

MDM

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 10:30:47 AM »
Have you tried the case study spreadsheet?

ysette9

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 07:30:56 PM »
I didn’t realize that it had been updated already.
I’ll give that a look this coming weekend.

catccc

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2018, 10:22:19 PM »
How complicated is your tax situation?  Do you take the standard deduction?  This might be relatively simple math. 
Income - standard deduction = taxable income.  Then find 2018 tax bracket and do the math.  Back out any credits you might receive. Then do some multiplication and see how close your current withholding gets to your actual total tax liability.

MDM

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 10:47:59 PM »
How complicated is your tax situation?  Do you take the standard deduction?  This might be relatively simple math. 
Income - standard deduction = taxable income.  Then find 2018 tax bracket and do the math.  Back out any credits you might receive. Then do some multiplication and see how close your current withholding gets to your actual total tax liability.
Have you tried the case study spreadsheet? ;)

Seriously, if you have tried without success, feedback could be helpful to improve it.

mattcuffCPA

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 08:02:13 AM »

ysette9

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 08:16:41 AM »
I did pull up th case study spreadsheet last weekend and couldn’t make heads or tails of the tax portions of it. It also calculated a lot more take-home/investable money than we currently have going into our Vanguard after-tax. That means either my math is way wrong, or the tax situation going forward is so different from what it was that I will be able to adjust my savings upwards.

We have a lot of moving parts. We bought a house with a massive mortgage so we will have some interest we will be able to deduct. We had a new baby so going forward we will have double daycare expenses. There is the new tax law which I expect to negatively impact us as I live in a state that did not vote for our tweeter in chief.

Thanks for the calculator. I’ll give that a try and keep working on the case study spreadsheet. I do need to figure this stuff out, even if it is massively painful.

MDM

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 02:26:49 PM »
I did pull up th case study spreadsheet last weekend and couldn’t make heads or tails of the tax portions of it.
If you could give some "for example..."s (either here or by PM), it might be possible to explain/fix as needed for you, and thus help others in similar situations.

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It also calculated a lot more take-home/investable money than we currently have going into our Vanguard after-tax. That means either my math is way wrong, or the tax situation going forward is so different from what it was that I will be able to adjust my savings upwards.
That comparison is a good way to double check whether your expenses are what you think they are. :)

ysette9

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 05:09:23 PM »
I’ll make myself a note to post or PM some details this weekend.

As for expenses, I went onto my bank’s website and pulled up the analysis of all 2017 spending by category to get my inputs. The categorization isn’t perfect and my bank sometimes counts deposits as withdrawals, which can mess stuff up, but I believe it to be about 80% correct. I’ll have another go at it when I get a peaceful moment at home and see what I can discover. :)


ysette9

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2018, 12:07:51 PM »
Quick thought: I just found where an extra $3700 of my money is going. I bumped up my 401k contribution last year to make sure I contributed the full amount early in anticipation of being out on maternity leave. I forgot about that and just kept it at the higher contribution %. Nice problem to have.

ysette9

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2018, 04:07:55 PM »
Playing around with the Case Study Spreadsheet.

  • My total payroll income taxes is getting calculated as $1,861 per week for Earner 1, and yet that earner's paycheck lists total tax as 1,079.38. I double-checked the withholdings and what filing type (single/married) and that is correct. Where should I look next to figure out what is wrong?
  • How do you handle bonuses, stock options vesting, and the like in this spreadsheet?
  • The total spending matches up more or less with our total annual spending for 2017 I looked up on my bank's website. The total income in the spreadsheet is more than what I actually received in my checking account, and what we actually received includes a sign-on bonus that isn't accounted for in the spreadsheet. Somehow it is calculating our income to be a good amount greater than what we are taking home.

Some ideas:
We just have too many moving parts to be able to capture this moment in time. We have one-off things like a sign-on bonus and stock options vesting that makes total income different (though not drastically so) year-to-year. There isn't a place for that in the spreadsheet. Last year we had a half-year of mortgage payments and this year will be a full year. Spending this year is higher because of mortgage and kiddo #2 who will be going to daycare soon. The new tax law throws a wrench in things. Add to this I think I can't really trust my bank's online spending tracking interface. I'm starting to suspect that this is a significant driver of me not having a good handle on the numbers. Can anyone recommend a simple way of tracking cash flow that is not Quicken?
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MDM

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Re: Good online calculator to estimate 2018 withholdings?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2018, 08:42:10 PM »
My total payroll income taxes is getting calculated as $1,861 per week for Earner 1, and yet that earner's paycheck lists total tax as 1,079.38. I double-checked the withholdings and what filing type (single/married) and that is correct. Where should I look next to figure out what is wrong?
Cells B61, B62 and B65 are totals for the family.  Cells B/C 58, 59, 63, and 64 are per earner.  If that explains things, great!  If not, could you clarify which spreadsheet cells, paycheck details, etc., are being compared?

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How do you handle bonuses, stock options vesting, and the like in this spreadsheet?
If subject to FICA, add annualized numbers to "Gross Salary/Wages", just as the employer will do for a W-2.

If not subject to FICA, there is cell D40, "Other taxable income", and cell B71, "Other Untaxed Income" for use as appropriate.

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The total income in the spreadsheet is more than what I actually received in my checking account, and what we actually received includes a sign-on bonus that isn't accounted for in the spreadsheet. Somehow it is calculating our income to be a good amount greater than what we are taking home.
The tax amounts are calculated to match your actual tax liability.  If you are over-withholding, your net paycheck amount will be lower than the spreadsheet number.  The IRS will repay that interest-free loan you have given them when you file and get a refund.

If that doesn't explain it, then I'm not sure - other than converting among annual, monthly, 2X/month, biweekly, and weekly numbers, all income is user input.  It is certainly possible that one (or more) of the frequency conversions is incorrect, but other than that...?

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We just have too many moving parts to be able to capture this moment in time. We have one-off things like a sign-on bonus and stock options vesting that makes total income different (though not drastically so) year-to-year. There isn't a place for that in the spreadsheet. Last year we had a half-year of mortgage payments and this year will be a full year. Spending this year is higher because of mortgage and kiddo #2 who will be going to daycare soon. The new tax law throws a wrench in things. Add to this I think I can't really trust my bank's online spending tracking interface. I'm starting to suspect that this is a significant driver of me not having a good handle on the numbers. Can anyone recommend a simple way of tracking cash flow that is not Quicken?
The spreadsheet should help with the new tax law, but yes, irregular income and expenses can make things difficult.

Past one-off events are already accounted for in your taxable balance.

Future one-offs can be estimated with annualized numbers for maintenance, etc.

Sorry if you are Quicken-averse.  We have grinned and borne it for >20 years.