Adjust tax withholding now to pay the proper amount of tax

IR-2022-186, October 20, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers to check their tax withholding while there's time left in 2022 to benefit from any necessary changes.

An adjustment made now will help people avoid a big surprise, such as a big refund or a balance due, at tax time in 2023.

Life brings constant changes to individual financial situations. Events like marriage, divorce, new tax law, a new child or home purchase can all be reasons to adjust withholding.

Tax Withholding Estimator

The Tax Withholding Estimator, also available in Spanish, can help people determine if they have too much income tax withheld and how to make an adjustment to put more cash into their own pocket. In other cases, it can help taxpayers see that they should withhold more or make an estimated tax payment to avoid a tax bill when they file their tax return next year.

The tool offers workers, retirees, self-employed individuals and other taxpayers a user-friendly, step-by-step tool for effectively tailoring the amount of income tax they should have withheld from wages and pension payments based on their complete set of facts and circumstances.

Pay as you go

Taxes are generally paid throughout the year whether from salary withholding, quarterly estimated tax payments or a combination of both. About 70% of taxpayers, however, withhold too much every year. This typically results in a refund. The average refund in 2022 is just under $3,000.

A few other facts about refunds:

  • Taxpayers do not have to get one. Proper withholding adjustments help people boost take home pay rather than be over withheld and get it back as a tax refund.
  • While most are issued in 21 days or less from an error-free and paperless tax return, many take longer for different reasons.
  • Taxpayers are advised not to rely on a refund for big purchases.
  • Direct Deposit is the easiest and most convenient way to get a refund. More than 90% of all refunds are issued this way.
  • Paper return processing delays stemming from the pandemic are six months or more. The IRS COVID-19 operations page offers complete details.

Other items may affect 2022 taxes

Some unforeseen life events can be a trigger to make withholding adjustments. They include:

For more information about estimated taxes and tax withholding, see Tax Withholding at