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July 10, 2001
IRS Launches Withholding Calculator
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loyees can figure out how much income tax should be withheld from their paychecks with the help of an online withholding calculator set up by the Internal Revenue Service.

The calculator, which reflects the changes in the income tax rates for individuals that took effect on July 1, can be found at:

Employees can use the results of the program to help complete new Form W-4s.

Though not a replacement for Form W-4, most people will find it more accurate and easier to use than the worksheets that accompany the form, according to the IRS.

Employees most likely to benefit from using the calculator include:

  • Those who would like to change their withholding to reduce their tax refund or their balance due.

  • Those whose situations are only approximated by the worksheets on the paper W-4, including employees or spouses of employees with more than one concurrent job, those entitled to file as heads of households, and those with several children eligible for the child tax credit.

  • Those with non-wage income in excess of their adjustments and deductions, who would prefer to have tax on that income withheld from their paychecks rather than make periodic separate payments through the estimated tax procedures.

People who are subject to self-employment tax or other taxes will probably achieve more accurate withholding by following the instructions in Publication 919, "How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?"

The agency has these tips for employees using the calculator:

  • Have the most recent pay stubs handy.

  • Have your most recent income tax return handy.

  • Fill in all information that applies to your situation.

  • Estimate values if necessary, but remember that the results can only be as accurate as the input provided.

  • Consult the information links embedded in the program whenever questions arise.

  • Print out the final screen that summarizes the input and the results, then use it to complete a new Form W-4 - if necessary - and keep the data as a record.

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