IRS Tax Reform Tax Tip 2019-121, September 4, 2019
Millions of people have filed their 2018 tax return, making this a prime time to consider whether their tax situation came out as expected. If not, taxpayers can use their finished 2018 return and the Tax Withholding Estimator to do a Paycheck Checkup ASAP and, if needed, adjust their withholding. Having their 2018 return handy can make it easier for taxpayers to estimate deductions, credits and other amounts for 2019. Performing a Paycheck Checkup is a good idea for anyone who:
- Adjusted their withholding in 2018, especially those who did so later in the year.
- Owed additional tax when they filed their tax return this year.
- Had a refund that was larger or smaller than expected.
- Had life changes such as marriage, childbirth, adoption, buying a home or income changes.
Since most people are affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act all taxpayers should check their withholding. They should do a checkup even if they did one in 2018. This especially includes taxpayers who:
- Have children and claim credits such as the Child Tax Credit.
- Have older dependents, including children age 17 or older.
- Experienced changes to itemized deductions this year.
- Itemized deductions in the past.
- Are a two-income family.
- Have two or more jobs at the same time.
- Only work part of the year.
- Have high income or a complex tax return.
This Tax Withholding Estimator works for most taxpayers. Those with more complex situations may need to use Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, instead of the Tax Withholding Estimator. This includes taxpayers who owe alternative minimum tax or certain other taxes, and people with long-term capital gains or qualified dividends.
Taxpayers can use the results from the Tax Withholding Estimator to see if they need to complete a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, and submit it to their employer. In some instances, the calculator may recommend they have an additional flat-dollar amount withheld each pay period. Taxpayers give this form to their employer and do not send this form to the IRS.
- FS-2019-4, Tax withholding: How to get it right
- Publication 5307, Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families (PDF)
- Form 1040-ES, Estimated Taxes for Individuals