What the new tax withholding tables mean for your take-home pay

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As President Donald Trump's recent tax overhaul is rushed into law, with businesses expected to make the necessary payroll adjustments by February 15, the Treasury Department is requiring employers to use old forms applicable to the old tax system, known as W-4s, in calculating how much to withhold in taxes from employees' paychecks.

Workers who are up for a tax cut should start seeing bigger paychecks in the coming weeks, now that the Internal Revenue Service has released guidance for employers about how much tax they should withhold from employees' take-home pay in 2018. "I look forward to GAO's independent review of these tables, which will expose whether the Trump administration is tampering with Americans' paychecks, resulting in a whopping tax bill next year". "It's taxes simply being called by another name", he said. However, the IRS says it doesn't expect that tool to be online until "the end of February".

The IRS will have to update its systems, publish new forms and publications, revise regulations, train employees on the new tax law and answer taxpayer questions about it. Those changes, the senior IRS official said, will require most, but not all employees, to file new W4 forms later this year.

Earlier this week, Wyden and Rep. Richard Neal, the top Democrat on the House tax-writing committee, asked the Government Accountability Office to analyze the new IRS tables to see if they might lead to systematic underwithholding of federal taxes from paychecks. Mnuchin said the White House press briefing that Treasury and the IRS will release new W-4 forms for 2019 later in the year.

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Senator Ron Wyden of OR and Representative Richard E. Neal of MA, the top Democrats on the Senate and House tax writing committees, sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking it to analyze the 2018 withholding tables and determine whether they will result in "systematic under-withholding". The online calculator will not be available until sometime next month. There are significant limitations on long-cherished deductions, such as the federal deduction for state income, property and sales taxes. Employers and payroll companies will now be required to process and implement those changes.

Senior IRS and Treasury Department officials told reporters Thursday that they would be encouraging all Americans to proactively use a new IRS tax calculator in late February to help them determine whether their paychecks are accurate.

There are new tax credits while other mainstays - like the $4,050 personal exemption - are gone. If they determine they are paying too much or too little in taxes, based on the size of their family or other variables, they can direct their employer to make changes.

"I don't want to speculate on what people will do", Mnuchin said Thursday.

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