Big Refund? Adjust Your Withholding

Big Refund? Adjust Your Withholding

We know it’s always nice to get that big tax refund check from the IRS. Party time, right? But what if we told you that you were missing out on even more money – simply by giving up that big refund year after year?

It boils down to this: If you’re getting a sizable refund just about every year and you’re having federal taxes withheld on your paycheck, you’re probably having too much held out for federal taxes. So when you get a big refund, you’re just getting your money back. True, it’s sort of a mandatory savings account that pays off once a year, but you’re still losing money on the deal. That’s because the IRS gets to use your money for most of the year, without paying you any interest.

Wouldn’t you like to get your money all year long, rather than waiting ’til tax time?

What Do You Have To Gain?

Give this a try: Add up this year’s tax refund and the one from last year. Divide by two to get the average refund amount. Then, divide that average by 12. That’s a ballpark figure for how much you could have extra in your pocket, every month.

Now, here’s where that “making money” thing comes in. Instead of letting your employer send that amount to Uncle Sam, just set aside that amount into an account that earns you interest. True, these days, that won’t be a lot, but a little is better than none, which is what you get from the IRS.

How to Change

Your employer may ask you every December or January if you want to make changes to your withholding. But you can request a change at any time; just fill out and hand in another Form W-4.

If you always get a big refund – and you’d rather have that money in your pocket every month – increase the number of personal allowances on the W-4 worksheet to have a tad more money taken out for taxes. On the other hand, if you chronically owe taxes every year, try decreasing those personal allowances on the W-4. If you need help, the IRS has a withholding calculator that can help you figure how much you need to hold out.

If you manage your withholding amounts correctly, you can get a little more in your paycheck – and still not pay any extra taxes at the end of the year.

Who Else Needs to Apply

Other than when you’re consistently getting big refunds or owe a lot at tax time, it’s a good idea to review and adjust your withholding especially when:

  • Either you or your spouse have more than one job
  • You have children, get married or divorced, or buy a home

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