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paycheck increase due to tax changes

U.S taxpayers have a big reason to celebrate this week. By the end of February, you should see your paycheck increase. The government released the new payroll withholding tables this week which will lower the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck and increase your take home pay.  Naturally the next question is “How much will my paycheck go up?” Out of curiously, I spent my Saturday morning comparing the 2017 tax tables to the new 2018 tax tables to answer that question. Yes, this is what nerds do on their weekends.

The Calculation

Like most financial calculations, it’s long and boring. I will provide you with the cliff notes version. The government provides your company with tax withholding tables that they enter into the payroll system. It tells your employer how much to withhold in fed taxes from each pay check. The three main variables in the calculation are:

  • Payroll frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, etc)
  • The number of withholding allowances that you claim
  • The amount of your pay

Single Filers or Head of Household

If you are a single or head of household tax filer, I ran the following calculations based on a bi-weekly payroll schedule and an employee claiming one withholding allowance. The table below illustrates how much your annual take home pay may increase under the new tax withholding tables at various salary levels.

withholding tables - single filer

Based on this analysis, it looks like a single filer’s paycheck will increase between 2% – 3% as soon as the new withholding tables are entered into the payroll system. If you want to know how much your bi-weekly pay will increase, just take the annual numbers listed above and divide them by 26 pay periods. If the payroll frequency at your company is something other than bi-weekly or you claim more than one withholding allowance, your percentage increase in take home pay will deviate from the table listed above.

Married Couples Filing Joint

For employees that are married and file a joint tax return, below is the calculations based on a bi-weekly payroll schedule and two withholding allowances. The table below illustrates how much your annual take home pay may increase under the new tax withholding tables at various salary levels.

payroll tax withholding table - married

Even though I added an additional withholding allowance in the calculation for the married employee, I was surprised that the “range” of the percentage increase in the take home pay for a married employee was noticeably wider than a single tax filer. As you will see in the table above, the increase in take home pay for an employee in this category range from 1.5% – 3.1%.

Another interesting observation, in the single filer table, the percentage increase in take home pay actually diminished as the employee’s annual compensation increased. In contrast, for the married employee, the percentage increase in annual take home pay gradually increased as the employee’s annual salary increased. Conclusion…..get married in 2018? Nothing says love like new withholding tables.

Michael Ruger

About Michael………

Hi, I’m Michael Ruger. I’m the managing partner of Greenbush Financial Group and the creator of the nationally recognized Money Smart Board blog . I created the blog because there are a lot of events in life that require important financial decisions. The goal is to help our readers avoid big financial missteps, discover financial solutions that they were not aware of, and to optimize their financial future.

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Investment advisory services offered through Greenbush Financial Group, LLC. Greenbush Financial Group, LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through American Portfolio Financial Services, Inc (APFS). Member FINRA/SIPC. Greenbush Financial Group, LLC is not affiliated with APFS. APFS is not affiliated with any other named business entity. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not ensure against market risk. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.