Q: In your book Zero Debt you say we should NOT get a refund check. I live for that check to help with tuition, home repairs, etc. I am a single parent of one, making about $100,000. What should I be changing my W-4 to so that I don’t have to owe the IRS? I now claim 0.
A: I’ve often told people that it’s NOT a good idea to get a refund check.
If you are claiming 0 allowances and you are getting a tax refund check, you need to increase the number of allowances claimed. How many? I don’t know. You’ll only be able to determine that by using the IRS withholding calculator.
After you try the calculator, if you still feel unsure about changing your withholdings or if you have questions about the process, pick up a copy of IRS Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?. This document will take you through the entire process and explain the correct way to fill out a W-4. Don’t worry. It’s not terribly complex. It simply boils down to this: When you adjust your W-4 at work, you’ll increase the number of allowances that you claim on line five of your W-4 form.
Your goal is to decrease the withholding amount (i.e. lower the amount of taxes being taken out) so that you ultimately receive a bigger paycheck. Bottom line: if you’re constantly receiving annual refund checks, adjusting your W-4 at work will put more money in your paycheck and your pocket.
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