Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

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HardHitter
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Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:11 pm

My wife and I got married in 2015. In 2016, we changed our W4 to 0-Married. For the first time in our lives, we owed come tax time. It wasn't that much (few hundred) so life went on.

For 2017, I got a $10K pay increase, but this month I just got a got a $25K pay increase with a $20K bonus. I wanted to see what impact that would be on taxes for the remainder of the year and look forward to next year to see if we needed to change anything.

For 2016, we were able to stay in the 25% tax bracket just barely, however for 2017, with the $10K increase and then now another $25K pay increase, we are now in the 28% tax bracket. From rough calculations based upon YTD #s and projecting out the remaining 5 paychecks for my wife and I, I'm calculating that we will need to pay now $2-3K+ come tax time.

Is there anything we can do to try to lower that with the remainder of this year and how do we avoid this for 2018? My friend said that we need to change our W4 to "Married withhold at Higher Single Rate"
Last edited by HardHitter on Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CAsage
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by CAsage » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:32 pm

You are handling this tax situation properly so far - kudos for doing a great job estimating your taxes for this year (and looking ahead). To lower your "tax bill" next April, you can specify an amount to be withheld in addition to the normal withholding via the W-4. Sometimes that takes a pay cycle or two to go into effect, so the sooner the better. I would estimate my taxes for the year in January, adjust withholding, then again mid year.... Mostly to smooth out my budget. Writing a check in April for less than 10% is okay.

Copied from Wiki: "You do not want to significantly underpay your tax, which may result in an underpayment penalty. Underpayment penalties occur if you pay less than 90% of what you owe, and less than 100% or 110%, depending on income, of last year's tax bill. Neither do you want to receive a large refund, which is an interest-free loan to the government, and may delay your getting the money back for a long time if something goes wrong. To adjust withholding, submit a new W-4 to your employer; if your salary is not withheld, you can choose how much to pay in estimated tax."
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

HardHitter
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:41 pm

CAsage wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:32 pm
You are handling this tax situation properly so far - kudos for doing a great job estimating your taxes for this year (and looking ahead). To lower your "tax bill" next April, you can specify an amount to be withheld in addition to the normal withholding via the W-4. Sometimes that takes a pay cycle or two to go into effect, so the sooner the better. I would estimate my taxes for the year in January, adjust withholding, then again mid year.... Mostly to smooth out my budget. Writing a check in April for less than 10% is okay.

Copied from Wiki: "You do not want to significantly underpay your tax, which may result in an underpayment penalty. Underpayment penalties occur if you pay less than 90% of what you owe, and less than 100% or 110%, depending on income, of last year's tax bill. Neither do you want to receive a large refund, which is an interest-free loan to the government, and may delay your getting the money back for a long time if something goes wrong. To adjust withholding, submit a new W-4 to your employer; if your salary is not withheld, you can choose how much to pay in estimated tax."
Thank you for the feedback, I'll look into that as well. Good way to manage any "surprises" come April.

Another question I had is, in our scenario, the salary split between my wife and I is about 70/30. Does it make any difference which salary we end up doing the additional withholding from?

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CAsage
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by CAsage » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:55 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:41 pm
Another question I had is, in our scenario, the salary split between my wife and I is about 70/30. Does it make any difference which salary we end up doing the additional withholding from?
As long as you are filing married jointly, it doesn't matter. You could split it either way.... The totals go on your (one) tax return. Don't forget to eyeball your state taxes once in a while as well..... I tend to obsess over getting it close, just for fun, target writing a small check each April. Refunds are bad, especially in a fraud-rich environment (can get held up).
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

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FiveK
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by FiveK » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:45 pm

CAsage wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:32 pm
Underpayment penalties occur if you pay less than 90% of what you owe, and less than 100% or 110%, depending on income, of last year's tax bill.
+1 to that whole post.

HardHitter, note in particular that if this year's withholding will be 110% or more of last year's tax (the 110% assumes last year's AGI was >$150K) you owe no penalty and don't need to adjust anything. With a large pay increase, that may be the case.

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flamesabers
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by flamesabers » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:40 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:41 pm
CAsage wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:32 pm
You are handling this tax situation properly so far - kudos for doing a great job estimating your taxes for this year (and looking ahead). To lower your "tax bill" next April, you can specify an amount to be withheld in addition to the normal withholding via the W-4. Sometimes that takes a pay cycle or two to go into effect, so the sooner the better. I would estimate my taxes for the year in January, adjust withholding, then again mid year.... Mostly to smooth out my budget. Writing a check in April for less than 10% is okay.

Copied from Wiki: "You do not want to significantly underpay your tax, which may result in an underpayment penalty. Underpayment penalties occur if you pay less than 90% of what you owe, and less than 100% or 110%, depending on income, of last year's tax bill. Neither do you want to receive a large refund, which is an interest-free loan to the government, and may delay your getting the money back for a long time if something goes wrong. To adjust withholding, submit a new W-4 to your employer; if your salary is not withheld, you can choose how much to pay in estimated tax."
Thank you for the feedback, I'll look into that as well. Good way to manage any "surprises" come April.
You can specify an additional amount to be withheld from each paycheck on line 6 on page 1 of the W-4.

HardHitter
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:20 pm

All,

Bumping this back up for clarification to make sure I have the most accurate projection. I am "new" in doing this on my own and we use a family tax accountant to do our taxes, but I'd love to figure this out myself since our "taxes" are fairly simple.

Last year, we had to pay $806 to state and overpaid by $106 to federal.

To calculate my total gross income, I have
- Job Income: Should be Total Gross - Before Tax Deductions (401K, Benefits, etc.) = Taxable Job Income
- Savings Interest Income
Anything else I am missing here?

To calculate my itemized deductions, I have
- Job State Income Tax
- Job State Disability Insurance
- House Property Tax
- Any Vehicle Registration Paid
- Mortgage Interest Paid
Anything else I am missing here? Also, if I purchased a vehicle this year and paid $3.6K in registration/taxes, that should be deductible under the Vehicle Registration section correct?

To calculate my exemptions, I have
Married, filing joint: $8,100 ($4,050 * 2 no phase out reached)
Anything else I am missing here?

Based upon those 3, I'll be able to calculate my taxable income to put into the tax table.

PaulMe
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by PaulMe » Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:38 pm

If you made any charitable contributions you will want to throw them into the mix as well.

Also note, car registration fees are not deductible, but taxes on them (like the Virginia personal property tax near me) are.

If you're in the 28% marginal bracket and filing jointly that means your taxable income is now north of about $153k for the year. That means your gross income is most likely north of $200k, so be certain to run a calculation for alternative minimum tax (AMT) as well. Depending on how big your deductions for state and local taxes are (not deductible under AMT) you may have to adjust your tax higher.

Good luck!
Paul

tomd37
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by tomd37 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:56 pm

Depending on your state situation you might also have a deduction for "personal property tax" paid. For example, I used to live in NC where we had an annual personal property tax levied on the current value of our automobile as determined by the state. Each year that amount would reduce as the automobile aged and became worth less. Then it hit the fan again when we purchased a new car. Also note some jurisdictions impose a "wheel tax" when you register (renew your license plate) your automobile each year. That is not a deductible amount.
Tom D.

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FiveK
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by FiveK » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:01 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:20 pm
To calculate my total gross income, I have
- Job Income: Should be Total Gross - Before Tax Deductions (401K, Benefits, etc.) = Taxable Job Income
- Savings Interest Income
Anything else I am missing here?
Dividends? Anything else in lines 10-21 of 2016 Form 1040 - f1040.pdf?
To calculate my itemized deductions, I have
- Job State Income Tax
- Job State Disability Insurance
- House Property Tax
- Any Vehicle Registration Paid
- Mortgage Interest Paid
Anything else I am missing here? Also, if I purchased a vehicle this year and paid $3.6K in registration/taxes, that should be deductible under the Vehicle Registration section correct?
If not self-employed, disability insurance is not deductible.

See Is Your Car Registration Deductible? for more on that.

In general, see Topic No. 500 Itemized Deductions | Internal Revenue Service.

The "what if?" worksheets of TurboTax, TaxAct, etc. would be useful if you have done your own in the past year. Might not be helpful now if a CPA has the electronic file, but next year....

Even without the electronic copy, you could take your paper copy of the 2016 return as a guide to your 2017 results. E.g., take pencil and paper (or roll your own spreadsheet) and redo the 2016 return using 2017 numbers. Tax brackets, etc., will have changed but for estimation purposes you will likely be close.

HardHitter
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:22 pm

Thanks FiveK for the detailed response. In response:

- Dividends are only paid out in my retirement accounts and reinvested, as such, not reporting as income
- When reviewing my 2016 taxes, it looks as though they were included in my deduction number (CASDI, CAVDI, SDI, CASDI-E, SUI/SDI) It sounds as though this is deductible on Federal.
- Based upon my research, Car Registration is deductible so long that it is annual. For California, we must register our car every year and that is why it was part of the itemized deduction.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:27 pm

Contribute to deductible IRA for both you and your spouse.max out 401k. Withhold more money.

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CAsage
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by CAsage » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:31 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:22 pm
- Based upon my research, Car Registration is deductible so long that it is annual. For California, we must register our car every year and that is why it was part of the itemized deduction. Anything else I am missing here? Also, if I purchased a vehicle this year and paid $3.6K in registration/taxes, that should be deductible under the Vehicle Registration section correct?
In California, PART of the car registration based on the (declining) value of the car is deductible. It is actually broken out and itemized on your registration renewal or purchase form.... So, some, not all. And NOT the sales tax!

Sales tax on an auto is not deductible under the "auto registration tax" section. Per the IRS: If you file a Form 1040, and itemize deductions on Schedule A, you have the option of claiming either state and local income taxes or state and local sales taxes (you can’t claim both). If you saved your receipts throughout the year, you can add up the total amount of sales taxes you actually paid and claim that amount.
Last edited by CAsage on Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

The Wizard
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by The Wizard » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:38 pm

If the bulk of your income is from employment, then the W-4 form with your employer should adjust automatically to account for your changed income.
If not quite right, then tweak it by an exemption or two next year until it is.

The problem arises when employment income is NOT the bulk of your income.
In 2016, I had $120k of retirement income and $30k of employment income.
I definitely needed to have additional withheld from my W-2 wages to avoid the Federal Penitentiary...
Attempted new signature...

The Wizard
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by The Wizard » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:39 pm

CAsage wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:31 pm
HardHitter wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:22 pm
- Based upon my research, Car Registration is deductible so long that it is annual. For California, we must register our car every year and that is why it was part of the itemized deduction.
In California, PART of the car registration based on the (declining) value of the car is deductible. It is actually broken out and itemized on your renewal form.... So, some, not all.
Can you say "Ad Valorem"?
Attempted new signature...

HardHitter
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:17 pm

Thanks all. I ran some rough numbers of where I stand and unless I messed up some numbers, the 2016 vs 2017 comparison is as such:

2016:
- State payment of $853
- Federal refund of $107.
- Net tax payment of: $746
- Taxable income was right at the top of the 25% tax bracket.

2017:
- State payment of $2,065
- Federal payment of $2,974
- Net tax payment of: $5,038
- Now in 28% tax bracket

So what caused this? My guess, is due to my job's fiscal year is October and I received a promotion which included a $25K pay increase as well as a $20K bonus.

Is there a way to decrease the tax liability for 2017? For 2018, I'll need to plan a little better and withhold more.

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CAsage
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by CAsage » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:37 pm

Focus on the total tax due, not the payment in April! That's a moving target, and getting a refund is not a good thing. My personal goal is to owe about $100, or as close as I can get to that.... Read the wiki on this website on tax considerations. There are lots of things to consider, but mostly they involve increasing pre-tax investing (401k, IRA, HSA. FSA etc), giving away more money (net loss, BTW), losing money in investments (tax loss harvesting is still.... a loss). One short term thing you could do is open a Donor Advised Fund to stash a lot of future charitable donations (still, money gone...). That's a good thing to do in an income balloon year. Have more children? There really aren't any great ways to save on taxes!
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

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FiveK
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by FiveK » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:17 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:22 pm
- When reviewing my 2016 taxes, it looks as though they were included in my deduction number (CASDI, CAVDI, SDI, CASDI-E, SUI/SDI) It sounds as though this is deductible on Federal.
OK, at least some of those are treated as California state taxes, thus deductible.

At least two of the popular tax software programs consider CAVDI (if that is the same as CAVPDI?) non-deductible on federal returns: Itemized deductions where do I add CAVDI Turbo automatically pi... - TurboTax Support and California - VPDI | TaxAct.

HardHitter
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:35 pm

Man, bad news after bad news haha

I received my Wife's latest pay stub (started a new job and this is her first full 2 week pay check) and plugged the forecasted numbers into my equation and it has now increased our payments to $4,320 for federal and $2,660 for state.

Is there a way to calculate what the paycheck impact is going to be if we switch to married but withhold at higher single rate on our w4?

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FiveK
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by FiveK » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:45 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:35 pm
Is there a way to calculate what the paycheck impact is going to be if we switch to married but withhold at higher single rate on our w4?
2017 Publication 15 should have all you ever wanted to know (and more) about withholding. You can cut to the chase ~page 43, "How To Use the Income Tax Withholding Tables".

The withholding from Megacorp pay often was slightly different (for whatever reason) from what I would calculate, but definitely "close enough for government work." :wink:

kaneohe
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by kaneohe » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:03 am

HardHitter wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:35 pm
.................................

Is there a way to calculate what the paycheck impact is going to be if we switch to married but withhold at higher single rate on our w4?
If you need to w/h more, this late in the yr it may be easier to do as suggested earlier by flamesabers........withhold an additional amount per
pay period on line 6 of the W4. That way you know exactly what is going to happen. If you go the way of changing your method (change from single to married and w/h at single rate, you have a completely new situation that may be difficult to predict unless you know precisely how things work.
If you want to do that, might be better to do it early next yr so you have time to assess the result and change things if necessary.

HardHitter
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:43 am

kaneohe wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:03 am
HardHitter wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:35 pm
.................................

Is there a way to calculate what the paycheck impact is going to be if we switch to married but withhold at higher single rate on our w4?
If you need to w/h more, this late in the yr it may be easier to do as suggested earlier by flamesabers........withhold an additional amount per
pay period on line 6 of the W4. That way you know exactly what is going to happen. If you go the way of changing your method (change from single to married and w/h at single rate, you have a completely new situation that may be difficult to predict unless you know precisely how things work.
If you want to do that, might be better to do it early next yr so you have time to assess the result and change things if necessary.
No I wouldn't do that for this year. I've basically already accepted that we will need to pay $7K-$8K come April, I'm more so speaking for next year.

I'd be interested to start the year with both of us changing our W4 to 0 - married but withhold at higher single rate and see what the impact is to our paychecks are as well as where the tax liability will be projected out. Need to work a few scenarios to see what's best. Or, we leave everything as is, and know that by next year, perhaps our tax liability goes from $8K to $10K and we will just do withhold an additional $400/pay check to make up for that.

HardHitter
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:45 am

Could I get some clarification on some of these taxes. When I reviewed my 10/30 paycheck, in comparison to my 10/15, I noticed that taxes paid decreased and/or didn't pull any and thus, my paycheck has increased a few hundred dollars.

I want to make sure I clearly understand why so I can properly project out my 2018 tax liability and make W4 adjustments where needed.

- Fed Withholding has increased slightly between paychecks, about $30. Why is this?
- Fed MED/EE has stayed constant
- Fed OASDI/EE has decreased drastically between paychecks, about $215. Why is this?
- CA Withholding has increased slightly between paychecks, about $20. Why is this?
- CA OASDI/EE has decreased to $0 from about $58. Why is this?

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Mlm
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by Mlm » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:06 am

HardHitter wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:45 am
Could I get some clarification on some of these taxes. When I reviewed my 10/30 paycheck, in comparison to my 10/15, I noticed that taxes paid decreased and/or didn't pull any and thus, my paycheck has increased a few hundred dollars.

I want to make sure I clearly understand why so I can properly project out my 2018 tax liability and make W4 adjustments where needed.

- Fed Withholding has increased slightly between paychecks, about $30. Why is this?
- Fed MED/EE has stayed constant
- Fed OASDI/EE has decreased drastically between paychecks, about $215. Why is this?
- CA Withholding has increased slightly between paychecks, about $20. Why is this?
- CA OASDI/EE has decreased to $0 from about $58. Why is this?
Did you hit the Social Security maximum of $127,200 for the year?
Reality has a way of catching up with you

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FiveK
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by FiveK » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:16 am

HardHitter wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:45 am
Could I get some clarification on some of these taxes. When I reviewed my 10/30 paycheck, in comparison to my 10/15, I noticed that taxes paid decreased and/or didn't pull any and thus, my paycheck has increased a few hundred dollars.

- Fed Withholding has increased slightly between paychecks, about $30. Why is this?
- CA Withholding has increased slightly between paychecks, about $20. Why is this?
Taxable earning increase, e.g. due to not deducting as much 401k?
- Fed MED/EE has stayed constant
- Fed OASDI/EE has decreased drastically between paychecks, about $215. Why is this?
- CA OASDI/EE has decreased to $0 from about $58. Why is this?
As Mlm noted, this would be consistent with hitting the SS wage maximum.
I want to make sure I clearly understand why so I can properly project out my 2018 tax liability and make W4 adjustments where needed.
A very good way to do this is with your own spreadsheet, as this reduces the "black box" effect of using TurboTax, etc.

HardHitter
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by HardHitter » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:21 am

FiveK wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:16 am
HardHitter wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:45 am
Could I get some clarification on some of these taxes. When I reviewed my 10/30 paycheck, in comparison to my 10/15, I noticed that taxes paid decreased and/or didn't pull any and thus, my paycheck has increased a few hundred dollars.

- Fed Withholding has increased slightly between paychecks, about $30. Why is this?
- CA Withholding has increased slightly between paychecks, about $20. Why is this?
Taxable earning increase, e.g. due to not deducting as much 401k?
Ah yes, my 401K deduction decreased as I'm getting close to capping.
- Fed MED/EE has stayed constant
- Fed OASDI/EE has decreased drastically between paychecks, about $215. Why is this?
- CA OASDI/EE has decreased to $0 from about $58. Why is this?
As Mlm noted, this would be consistent with hitting the SS wage maximum.
Is this $127K of income? If so, then yes, I've exceeded that.
I want to make sure I clearly understand why so I can properly project out my 2018 tax liability and make W4 adjustments where needed.A very good way to do this is with your own spreadsheet, as this reduces the "black box" effect of using TurboTax, etc.
Yea I have a spreadsheet, but I was hoping taxes would be a simple % of my income, but seems to change over time. I need to figure that out first so I can properly calculate that since that will impact everything.

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FiveK
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Re: Projecting Tax Liability - Assistance Required

Post by FiveK » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:30 pm

HardHitter wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:21 am
Yea I have a spreadsheet, but I was hoping taxes would be a simple % of my income, but seems to change over time. I need to figure that out first so I can properly calculate that since that will impact everything.
A year or so out of date, but the general strategy may be worth considering: Best Way to Calculate W-4 Exemptions for 2016?

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