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cberni1
LSU Fan
Metry
Member since Jun 2012
473 posts

W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
Does anyone have an idea on how accurate the W4 withholding calculator is on the IRS website? My understanding is there were recent changes to the W4 in the past year and I wanted to updated my W4. My wife and I typically claim single, no dependents to get the max return but we do have 2 dependents. I know some will balk at that theory but we prefer to get the max return to put towards the kids tuition. We don't have issues saving money, it's just how we prefer to handle taxes.

That said, I will likely be setting my W4 to married, no dependents with no additional deductions to my paycheck and per the IRS website, I would be getting back more than I ever have before. Either it's accurate based on new tax code or the estimation per IRS is flawed. I input our information based on our existing pay stubs and best guesses based on last years info for the rest.

Does anyone have experience with this and could provide some feedback on estimation vs. reality.
This post was edited on 6/10 at 7:51 am


Weekend Warrior79
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2014
7960 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
Depending on the size of your company, you may be able to ask you payroll person to run 1-2 scenarios to see what you checks would look like. Wouldn't ask too many or you'd just annoy the shite out of them; but they should have no issues running a few.

quote:

I would be getting back more than I ever have before.

Can you clarify this statement? Yes, if you change from single to married, your paycheck will go up. But, your annual tax return will decrease because you are getting more of that money in each check.

quote:

Does anyone have experience with this and could provide some feedback on estimation vs. reality.


Cannot do without specific details (not asking for your personal info, just stating). But, with that said, I have found ADP's salary calculator to be the most accurate


FinleyStreet
Georgia Fan
Member since Aug 2011
6861 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
The thing about some of those calculators is they don't always give you all the options - it doesn't look the IRS gives you a place to input health premiums or FICA paid in so it's going to over-estimate what you owe, but it sounds like you want a refund anyway, so that may not be a big deal to you. Another thing is people think they're filling it out correctly, and they're not, so they get a big surprise during tax time. Just make sure your total liability makes sense from a high level and you will probably be fine.




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LSUFanHouston
LSU Fan
NOLA
Member since Jul 2009
25396 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
Have you included both your income and your wife's income?


cberni1
LSU Fan
Metry
Member since Jun 2012
473 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
quote:

Can you clarify this statement? Yes, if you change from single to married, your paycheck will go up. But, your annual tax return will decrease because you are getting more of that money in each check.
per the IRS site, even if I adjust my W4 alone to married filing jointly, and wife leaves her alone (single, no dependents), we'd still get more back in tax return than we did for 2020 filing year. That wouldn't make sense if we were both filing single, no dependents in that filing year. So yes, i agree with you and it's why i'm skeptical.
This post was edited on 6/10 at 10:59 am


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cberni1
LSU Fan
Metry
Member since Jun 2012
473 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
quote:

Have you included both your income and your wife's income
Yes, included both our salaries, federal income to date and per paycheck, etc, etc. I followed it as closely as i could and included everything I think I could


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LSU6262
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2008
6227 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
How much more are you talking about?

Does the calculator take into consideration the extra child tax credit and dependent care credit which is available for 2021?


cberni1
LSU Fan
Metry
Member since Jun 2012
473 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
quote:

How much more are you talking about?
4K more. Yes it takes both into account. One child is in pre K so I don’t claim that as dependent care but the other is in day care and I can claim 3k of that. That’s how I claimed on 2020 taxes so nothing should change for 2021.


LSU6262
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2008
6227 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
quote:

the other is in day care and I can claim 3k of that. That’s how I claimed on 2020 taxes so nothing should change for 2021.


It changes a lot actually. That $3000 is now $8000. LINK /


WDE24
Yale Fan
Member since Oct 2010
48537 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
quote:

That $3000 is now $8000
And not as limited in what qualifies


LSU6262
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2008
6227 posts

re: W4 Withholding Calculator accuracy
quote:

And not as limited in what qualifies


Yep. OP may be able to get even more

The IRS actually just release a FAQ on this today: LINK


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