Author Topic: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?  (Read 2257 times)

EconDiva

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My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« on: July 18, 2017, 10:18:30 AM »
Below is a breakdown of my biweekly paycheck.  I am ashamed to admit all these years I have been pretty ignorant with regards to taxes, withholdings, etc.  Basically, I am wondering if I can or should adjust anything here.  I just feel that I'm seeing less of my check than I should but maybe that's a result of paying higher taxes after having received bumps in pay over the past 5 years.  I would ideally like to get $100 more out of each paycheck.

I gross $90,310 annually (note:  NOT including a 7% annual bonus).  Filing status is single.  Exemptions:  Fed: 3, State: 0 [Facepunch me because this is what is listed on my paycheck but I actually don't know what that translates to in terms of my paycheck amounts! :(]

Also, as an FYI I owed ~$1000 back in federal taxes last year.  Does the below look reasonable to you? 

Gross   3473.46
   
Pre tax deductions   
Medical   65.61
Dental   6.37
Vision   4.93
401k           69.47
   
Taxes   
Federal   
Withholding   530.29
Social Security   210.93
Medicare             49.33
State   
Withholding   187.34
   
Other   
Supplemental life   2.75
AD&D               3.69
   
Total deductions including taxes and "Other" - 1130.71
   
Net pay   2342.75


terran

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Re: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 10:50:59 AM »
Has your income changed or have you changed your exemptions since last year? The fact that you owed taxes means that if anything you should be increasing your withholding, not reducing it.

You say you gross $90310/year plus a 7% bonus, but your monthly gross income is $3473.46 (for an annual $41,685.12). Is there a typo somewhere in there?

EconDiva

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Re: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 10:58:25 AM »
Has your income changed or have you changed your exemptions since last year? The fact that you owed taxes means that if anything you should be increasing your withholding, not reducing it.

You say you gross $90310/year plus a 7% bonus, but your monthly gross income is $3473.46 (for an annual $41,685.12). Is there a typo somewhere in there?

I haven't changed my exemptions since last year.  My income did go up about 10% total between the fall and end of last year.

This is my bi-weekly paycheck as mentioned...so I get two of the above every month with the exception of 2 months out of the year when I get 3 paychecks (I get 26 total checks a year so if you multiply my biweekly paycheck amount times 26 you should get close to the 90310 annual gross pay amount).

RWD

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Re: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 11:00:53 AM »
Each state has different tax rules so I don't know how accurate that one is for you. For federal taxes each exemption will have you keeping more money (and increase the amount you owe when you file taxes). If I recall correctly this should be the tax year's personal exemption amount divided by the number of expected paychecks followed by applying your tax bracket. So with a federal exemption of 3 in 2017 you are reducing your federal withholding by $116.83 ($4050 *0.25 * 3 / 26). Increasing this to 4 would gain you $38.94 per pay check (and you would correspondingly owe an additional $1012.50 when you file your taxes).

When you say you want an additional $100 out of each pay check do you mean the amount that you see deposited in your checking account or just the post-tax amount? Because you can save yourself ~$155.71 per paycheck on federal taxes alone by maxing out your 401k. But that would also reduce the amount you get immediate access to.

dandarc

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Re: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2017, 11:06:52 AM »
This is bi-weekly, not monthly pay.

Agree with terran - the taxes are what they are, if you're owing taxes when you file, then you're not having enough withheld through the year anyway - if you increase your exemptions, you'll owe more, and probably interest and / or penalties when you file next year.

My suggestion - increase the 401K contribution (you can go almost 10X higher than you are currently).  While that will reduce your paycheck, the correct way to look at 401K contributions is as a part of take-home pay, so that's how you can do this.  Put $400 / check more into 401K, save $100+/ check on taxes.  The actual amount of your check will be less, but if you add the 401K to it, you've got more.

You could also find someone to marry, preferably someone who either makes a lot more or a lot less than you.  The tax rates for single high-earners are pretty high, but not nearly as expensive as marrying the wrong person, so tread carefully here.

terran

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Re: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 11:26:07 AM »
This is my bi-weekly paycheck as mentioned...so I get two of the above every month with the exception of 2 months out of the year when I get 3 paychecks (I get 26 total checks a year so if you multiply my biweekly paycheck amount times 26 you should get close to the 90310 annual gross pay amount).

Ah, that was dumb -- totally missed the obvious answer :)

Using a total income of $90,310 and total pretax deductions of $146.38 times 26 pay periods = $3,805.88 for taxable income of $86,504.12, https://www.taxact.com/tools/tax-calculator.asp says a single filer will owe $14,770 in federal taxes. You're currently withholding $13,787.54, so you'll probably need to withhold an additional $37.78/paycheck.

The bonus could change that in one direction or the other depending on how withholding is handled, but I think I've read that bonuses are often withheld at a straight 25%, which should in your case exactly match your additional tax liability due to the increased income since you're in the 25% marginal bracket.

Other income (such as from interest or investments) or other deductions (not sure what that would be since you're over the limit for a deductible IRA) would change all of this.

I've found https://smartasset.com/taxes/income-taxes handy for a quick and dirty estimate of state taxes, and it looks like it comes pretty close on federal too, so you could do this same calculation to see how you're doing on state tax withholding.





« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 11:27:51 AM by terran »


EconDiva

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Re: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 12:08:46 PM »
This is bi-weekly, not monthly pay.

Agree with terran - the taxes are what they are, if you're owing taxes when you file, then you're not having enough withheld through the year anyway - if you increase your exemptions, you'll owe more, and probably interest and / or penalties when you file next year.

My suggestion - increase the 401K contribution (you can go almost 10X higher than you are currently).  While that will reduce your paycheck, the correct way to look at 401K contributions is as a part of take-home pay, so that's how you can do this.  Put $400 / check more into 401K, save $100+/ check on taxes.  The actual amount of your check will be less, but if you add the 401K to it, you've got more.

You could also find someone to marry, preferably someone who either makes a lot more or a lot less than you.  The tax rates for single high-earners are pretty high, but not nearly as expensive as marrying the wrong person, so tread carefully here.

Regarding the 401k contribution--I used to put a lot more into it until this year.  I started a house fund this year so I lowered it down to the minimum allowed to get the match.  So I can either contribute to the house downpayment fund or I can increase the 401k tenfold or so.  But I estimate I will be contributing to the house downpayment fund through end of 2018. 

I broke up with the boyfriend last month :(

Marriage thing isn't in the equation anymore. 

Lepetitange3

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Re: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 12:53:07 PM »
Alternate thoughts- you definitely need to withhold more if you're owing the taxman.

Let's talk dental, vision, supplemental life, and add insurance.

What's your dental and vision policy like?  Most of these actually lose you money over time.  Or at best, they function like forced savings accounts for when someone can't cough up $100 for a cleaning.

Why do you have supplemental life if you're not married?  Like if you're dead, you certainly won't need it. 

Also the ADD, I would read the policy very carefully to see when and how they pay out and if you actually need it. 

I'm assuming you've optimized your medical policy as well?  But if not, you can look at that too.

Daisy

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Re: My paycheck deductions-how can or should I adjust...?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 04:04:25 PM »
Use the tax calculator below. Then divide the estimated yearly tax you owe by the number of paychecks, and enter that number in your W4. You can use either number of exemptions or a fixed amount each paycheck in the W4. I like to use the fixed amount so I know exactly what I am paying.

http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_calculator.htm