Paycheck Checkup: You may need to increase your paycheck withholdings

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Before you blink, half of the year will be gone. But before you splurge on a summer vacation, make sure you won’t be on the hook for a huge tax bill next spring.

We’ve all heard about tax cuts this year. We’ve seen more money in our paychecks. But tax experts warn that many people need to take time to tinker with the amount being withheld from their paychecks for income taxes now in order to have enough time to fix any potential big trouble spots ahead.

Not taking any action means you could be risking an extra-large income tax bill come April 2019. Or you might be shocked by a much smaller refund than you’d expect.

Major changes in the federal tax law that went into place in 2018 make it necessary for many taxpayers to re-evaluate their paycheck withholding.

“A lot of taxpayers got a bigger paycheck starting in February,” said Mary J. Wade, a certified public accountant at Gordon Advisors in Troy, Mich.

But Wade said that doesn’t mean the withholding amount is correct for your individual financial picture.

The Internal Revenue Service recently urged two-income families and people who work more than one job to complete a “paycheck checkup.”

The IRS has a withholding calculator at its site that can help you judge if you need more money withheld. See www.irs.gov for “Paycheck Checkup.” Delaying means there are fewer pay periods before Dec. 31 to make any necessary adjustment — which means you’d have to drastically reduce your take-home pay if you wait until too late in the year.

Who needs to take such extra steps?

Those who need a review include: Two-income families; Families with older dependents, including children 17 or older; and Taxpayers who itemized deductions in 2017 — including some with vacation homes.

Households with high incomes, homeowners who live in high property tax states and those with complex tax returns are urged to take a second look at their withholding amounts, too.

“Everybody has asked us: ‘What’s this going to mean for me next year?’ ” said James O’Rilley, tax director for Doeren Mayhew & Co. in Troy, Mich.

Many reviews conducted during tax season indicated that most people would be saving money on their tax bills, he said.

Even so, O’Rilley said, people may still need to adjust their withholding if they want a large refund next year or they don’t want to owe money.

Continue reading at USA Today for key questions to consider for your paycheck checkup »

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