Federal income tax is withheld from the pay of almost all employees. Employee pay is inclusive of salaries and wages, bonuses, commissions, and vacation allowances. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide the employee with a W-4 at the onset of their employment. The determination of tax withheld is computed from the information provided on the W-4. The employee must inform the employer of their withholding status (married or single), and the number of exemptions they will be claiming. Employees also have the option to have an additional amount withheld from their pay. If, over the course of an employee's employment, they wish to change or adjust their withholding rates, they may simply request to complete a new W-4. Publication 919 “Getting the Right Amount of Tax Withheld” is available from the IRS and can assist employers and employees in making the best choices for withholding correctly.
Factors that will affect the amount of federal income tax withheld from an employee’s check include marital status, number of exemptions, or an employee has more than one job at a time. These factors will affect federal income tax computations, and should be included in information provided by the employee at the time of employment. Some employees, due to filing status, number of exemptions or allowances, and earned income totals below the national poverty level, will qualify for Advance EIC payments. These are advance payments of a refund of federal income tax. Advance EIC payments are made on the employee's paycheck each pay period, if requested.
. Contributions to qualified 401(k)'s or any other program that allows deductions of “pre-tax” contributions will affect the amount of federal income tax withholding for each pay period. Generally, contributions to a 401(k) or other retirement program are a benefit to the employee at the end of the tax year. These contributions provide a tax break and reduce the amount of federal income tax due, while providing retirement benefits to the employee.
Other factors affecting federal income tax liability are filing status, number of exemptions claimed on your personal tax return, individuals with more than one job, child tax credits, education credits itemized deductions, and nonwage income.
At the end of the tax year, employees are furnished a W-2. This is a summary of the wages paid and all deductions taken from the employees gross pay over the course of the past tax year. All employers are required by law to furnish employees with a W-2 no later than January 31st of the next tax year.
To summarize, federal income tax withheld from an employee's pay can be affected by changes to the employees wage base, filing status, or simply the acquiring of a second job. All employees should take the time to review their filing status based on the information provided on their W-4 and make changes to withholding status and exemptions claimed as needed.
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