Beginning in 2018, the new tax laws are officially implemented, which could spell a shift in take home pay for many workers. And, if your employer has begun using the new withholding tables, you could see a change in pay this month. The Congressional Budget Office has approximated that employers could withhold around $10-15 billion less from employees each month by utilizing the new withholding tables.
Many taxpayers may be wondering if they will actually see any of that $10-$15 billion on their regular paychecks? An increase in take-home pay will be based on the number of allowances you take, how often you are paid and if you file jointly or are a single filer. So, for the average single filer who makes between $46,000-$162,000 and is paid bi-weekly, your paycheck will likely increase between $40 and $190. For married filers who make between $61,000-$167,000, you could see a bi-weekly pay increase between $30 and $172.
However, there are other factors in play that could offset any pay increases taxpayers might see. While the federal tax cuts might increase take-home pay for the average workers, other changes in deductions might counteract a boost in pay. Although the federal tax rates changed, some state or local taxes may have increased for some workers. Many companies make health benefits or other benefit changes at the start of a new year as well, which would ultimately influence a worker’s final take-home amount.
Whether you see a pay increase or not, all employees should consider re-evaluating their withholding allowances. Why? Withholding tables are intended to provide a ballpark figure of how much tax should be taken from your pay, but this year’s estimation could be a bit looser than previous years.
The new tax laws change elements that affect how many allowances workers claim. For example, some personal exemptions have been eliminated, itemized deductions have been reduced and tax credits have been altered. The new withholding tables do incorporate the tax code changes, but taxpayers were not required to fill out a new W-4 form. Therefore, the number of allowances selected when your last W-4 was filed could be rather inaccurate now.
How do you know if your allowances need to be modified? Taxpayers can speak with a tax adviser to decide the correct withholding amounts. Another option is to use the new withholding calculator the IRS plans to release at the end of February, which is designed to help employees calculate if they are claiming too little or too much in light of the tax changes. If you do decide to change withholding amounts, you will need to submit new instructions to your employer.