Tax Withholding Estimator Accessibility



What is Accessibility?

Accessibility means ensuring that access to information is available to the widest possible audience.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is committed to providing access to our web pages and applications addressing usability issues for individuals with disabilities. To meet this commitment, we designed Tax Withholding Estimator to comply with the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 794) and the accessibility standards issued by the Access Board.

Section 508 requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from us, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities. The pages on this web application have been reviewed and revised to accommodate individuals with disabilities. In addition, every effort has been made to ensure the highest level of usability in accordance with best industry practices. More information on Section 508 and the technical standards can be found on

Tax Withholding Estimator Accessibility Features

The Tax Withholding Estimator has implemented numerous accessibility features in compliance with federal regulations.

Some of the accessibility features of the Tax Withholding Estimator application are listed below.

  • Text descriptions for images and pictures: When the mouse pointer or pointer alternative moves over an image, a small window pops up to give users a description of the image. This description is also provided to users who are using screen readers to access information on the page.
  • Style sheets to format page content: The content in this Web application is formatted using cascading style sheets. This allows users to disable the formatting provided by the application and apply their own formatting if they choose. Style sheets are disabled within an internet browser's settings or preferences options.
  • Direct linking for screen reader navigation: This application provides direct links to the main sections of each page for users using screen readers. Screen readers tend to read pages from left to right and from top to bottom. The pages in IRS Tax Withholding Estimator provide internal bookmarks so that screen reader users can jump directly to specific sections of the page. This feature is referred to as a navigation menu bypass.
  • The Tax Withholding Estimator supports the following browsers:
    • Internet Explorer 11
    • Chrome
    • Safari
    • Firefox
    • Opera
    • Edge

The Tax Withholding Estimator will continue to make content accessible for users using assistive technology to serve the needs of all who visit our application.

For users who are blind or who have visual impairments, the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator application was designed to be accessible with most industry-standard screen readers.

Tax Withholding Estimator Known Accessibility Issues

Error Notification and Handling

Tax Withholding Estimator has 6 forms: “About You”, “Income & Withholding”, “Adjustment”, “Deductions”, “Tax Credits”, “Results”. These steps help you to estimate for the year ahead in order to determine how to complete Form W-4 so you don’t have too much or too little federal income tax withheld.

An on-screen prompt is used to alert users of errors, warnings and other notifications that are of importance to a specific step. Alert prompts instruct users to return to the top of the page for more detailed information.

Alerts are provided for the following conditions:

  • Errors: Errors or omissions were made and must be corrected before the user can continue to the next step.
  • Warnings: These vary according to the context but alert the user to potential problems related to the data entered or selections made.

Screen reader users should follow this sequence when responding to alert prompts:

  1. Read the generic alert message completely.
  2. The cursor is positioned inside the field. After being notified of the first error, the error identification is not announced on consecutive error.  Since the specific error or warning is not immediately read by JAWS screen reader, use the following JAWS Commands: Say Line (INSERT+UP ARROW) or Say All (INSERT+DOWN ARROW) to get to the error/warning description, or use Ctrl + Home to go to the top of the page.
  3. The user can optionally address single or multiple errors on the form. However, many users prefer to address one error at a time and then use the method above to deal with the next error on the list.
  4. After completing all errors, select “Next” button to re-submit the page. If there are any new errors on the page, you will be notified in the same manner.


The Calendar modal is going to popup on Step 2 “Income & Withholdings” when the user sets focus to any of the field that prompts to enter the date in the application. The Calendar provides access to the Assistive Technology users that use voice dictation software, screen reader technology and magnification software even though they may experience inconsistent behavior for selected dates and focus depending on the platform they use.

Calendar has the Keyboard shortcuts that are specified for desktop and are available to the screen reader users only. Keyboard users need to press the arrow keys to navigate by day, Page Up and Page Down to navigate by month, or Escape to cancel.

When the date is selected in the Calendar and the Tab key is pressed, the focus shifts either to the Skip to Main link on the top of the page or to the application Footer.

Dragon Naturally Speaking users need to use “Click Button” command with the Calendar to choose the date.

When the incorrect date format is entered in the Date field, the Error message below the field reads: “A response is required”. Use the following JAWS Commands: Say Line (INSERT+UP ARROW) or Say All (INSERT+DOWN ARROW) to get to the error/warning description or use CTRL+ Home to go to the top of the page to get more information about the error.

Step Indicator

There are two links for each step in the Step Indicator bar, both of them go to the same location, one is listing the step number (“Link one”, “Link two”, etc.) and the second is listing the step name (“About You”, “Income & Withholding”, etc.). There are 5 links that do not contain text.

On the Results page (Step 6) the graph is setup as a background image and does not have an ALT tag to provide its description.

Screen readers do not announce the “Current” or “Completed” step.

Radio Buttons and Checkboxes

Screen readers does not announce how many radio buttons/checkboxes in the group. 

When the user selects a Radio button, and then presses ENTER or SPACE Bar, the HelpTip is activated. Use SHIFT+Tab keys to go back to the Radio button.

For JAWS users, use the following Navigation Quick Keys to move to specific types of form controls on the page:

  • Press A to move to the next radio button
  • Press C to move to the next combo box
  • Press E to move to the next edit box
  • Press X to move to the check box

Mobile and Handheld Devices

Android devices with TalkBack

  • Tax Withholding Estimator can be used on a mobile or handheld device with different operating systems such as iOS via Safari browser or Android via Chrome browser.
  • Calendar does not have Shortcuts for Mobile devices.
  • Error messages are not immediately announced on Android devices. Users can read the error messages by selecting Headings from the Local Context Menu (LCM).
  • When the user is editing the amount that was entered into the field with the numeric input, TalkBack is incorrectly announces the number that is being edited. In order to read the number correctly, place the cursor at the beginning of the field and read each digit at a time.
  • If you made an error in the date field and then expand/collapse any accordion on the page, TalkBack is reading "A response is required" before reading the field.
  • When the Calendar pops up, TalkBack reads: "Move back to switch to previous month." and then automatically starts reading all days in the Calendar. Do one more swipe forward to stop TalkBack from reading automatically.
  • When the Calendar pops up, the upper portion of the Calendar is not visible on the screen.
  • When the user selects the date and then changes the month, TalkBack only announces the digits that were replaced instead of reading the full date. Place the cursor at the beginning of the field in order to read the date in full.
    The Tax Withholding Estimator Application has been built using responsive web design.
  • The Tax Withholding Estimator team is working to mitigate these deficiencies. In the meantime, the recommended workaround is to use this application on a laptop or desktop with a JAWS screen reader.

iOS (MAC, iPhone) with VoiceOver

  • iPhone:
    • When the Menu is opened the “Close Menu” button is not immediately announced.
    • HelpTips are visually appearing on the next line but are following the field label.
    • Links on the Step Indicator are announced multiple times.
    • Skip to Main content link does not work with VoiceOver.
  • Mac:
    • When navigating to the Pay Period date with VoiceOver CTRL+OPTION+RIGHT ARROW, VoiceOver announces “button". The button does not have a name.
    • After the user types in the date in a Date field and tries to arrow right with VoiceOver CTRL+OPTION, the focus goes to the Calendar controls even though the date is already selected.
    • When the user opens the VoiceOver Rotor (VO CTRL+OPTION +U), the Rotor lists navigation twice for the Main navigation and Header Top Navigation Landmarks.

Visual Design Features

This application has taken visual design into account in the following ways:

  • Background and foreground colors have been chosen with a high degree of contrast to maximize visibility.
  • Colors are controlled within the style sheet and therefore may be electively overridden by altering your browser style settings. If your browser or browsing device does not support style sheets at all, the content of each page will remain readable and will be organized in the proper reading order.

Change Font Size

To increase or decrease font size in the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator web application, use built in browser functions. To:

  • Increase: Hold down the Ctrl key (Command key on a Macintosh) and press the + (plus) key
  • Decrease: Hold down the Ctrl key (Command key on a Macintosh) and press the - (minus) key

If that doesn't work, you may be using an older version of your Web browser. You could upgrade your browser or find additional instructions on the Web Accessibility Initiative site that may help. 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is dedicated to making the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator web application accessible for all users. We will continue to make accessibility enhancements during future website redesigns.