Using last paycheck to file taxes

How to use your last pay stub to file taxes

Using last paycheck to file taxes

Tax Myth: Using a Paystub to File Instead of a W-2

Ed note: While tax time receives groans and moans from some, others look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel – their tax refund. We are commonly asked if there is any way to get a refund faster. Maybe filing with a pay stub instead of waiting for a W-2? Our experts at The Tax Institute weigh in.

Employers are not required to provide their workers with a copy of their 2013 Form W-2 until January 31, 2014. So can someone who has not yet received their Form W-2 file their tax return before this date using the information shown on their last paycheck stub of 2013?

The answer is, essentially, no. Unfortunately, you must wait until your employer issues you a Form W-2 to file your tax return. You can’t file your tax return with just a paystub.

You do have a couple of options though.

Many employers will provide electronic W-2s that can be

accessed earlier in January. Contact the payroll or human resources department at your company for more information.

You could also take advantage of H&R Block’s Early Access program. H&R Block partners with employers to provide early access to Form W-2 for more than 70 million employees nationwide.

What happens if you still haven’t received your Form W-2 after January 31? First, contact your employer to attempt to obtain your W-2. If you still haven’t received the form by February 14, you should contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to provide as much information regarding your situation as possible. Use that last paycheck stub to give them as much detail as possible. The IRS will send you Form 4852 (an IRS substitute to Form W-2) which you may then use to file your tax return prior to the April 15 due date.

You should also know that you may be required to file an amended return if you file your return using the Form 4852 and you do eventually receive a Form W-2 with conflicting information reported on it.

How to Calculate Taxes Using a Paycheck Stub

Your last paycheck has the information you need to estimate how much in taxes you'll get back or owe.

Waiting for your W-2s to arrive in the mail to file your taxes can be a drag. Fortunately, if you have the check stub for the last paycheck of the tax year for which you’re filing, you can at least get an idea as to how much you can expect to owe in taxes once you file. The key is knowing what information your check stub contains that will also appear on your W-2.

Identify your gross and net pay. The first figure represents how much you got paid before taxes, while the latter shows how much you brought home after taxes and other deductions. Specifically, look for the year-to-date totals, not the totals for just this pay period.

Find how much you had withheld in federal income. This amount usually appears next to or directly below the letters “Fed Tax,” “FWT” or “FT.”

Locate how much was withheld in state and local taxes. Look for the abbreviations “St Tax,” “ST” or “SWT” when trying to locate state tax withholding. Remember that not all states withhold income taxes. For local taxes, remember that individual taxes may be withheld by your city, county and even school district.

Identify the Social Security and Medicare tax withholding figures. For the first, look for abbreviations like “FICA,” “SS” and “SSWT.” For the latter, look for the abbreviations “Med” or “WT.”

Look for deductions. These might include life or medical insurance, and contributions made to retirement plans.

Match the numbers you pulled from your last paystub of the year to the boxes on the W-2 form you have yet to received. You can pull out last year’s W-2 form if you don’t know what numbers correspond to what box, or you can pull up a sample W-2 from the Internet.

Plug the numbers from your mock W-2 into your tax preparation software, a blank 1040 Form or a tax calculator online, and proceed normally, plugging in any deductions you plan to take for the year. The result should give you a rough idea of how much you can expect to get back or owe in taxes. However, remember that all the figures in your last paystub may not be identical to those in your W-2 because things like bonuses paid at year’s end may not appear on the pay stub, but will appear in the W-2.

Using last paycheck to file taxes

Cynthia Gomez has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade. She is currently an editor at a major publishing company, where she works on various trade journals. Gomez also spent many years working as a newspaper reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.

using last paycheck to file taxes

Using last paycheck to file taxes

Do I need to file for Tax Return?

According to the US laws, every person who received income in the USA must file a tax return, no matter what taxes have been paid and how much. Let us assist you in completing and filing the special forms required by the government. Failure to file a tax return can cause you problems if you wish to return to the USA. If you are not a US citizen, and worked only in the summer you will most probably receive some extra money in your pocket, so do not wait because the deadline is approaching.

Documents needed for your tax return ?

• W-2 form or LAST paycheck from every employer

• Copy of your Social Security card;

• Copy of your J-1 Visa and Passport;

• Copy of your DS-2019;

W-2 – this document is issued by your employer at the end of the calendar year and it contains exact numbers of how much money you received and paid in taxes, while working for that company.It is mandatory for your employer to send you that form between January 1st 2013 and January 31st 2013. Many times students do not provide their address in Bulgaria or other country, or it could just get lost in the mail. If that happens do not worry- in most cases only your LAST paycheck is necessary.

Social Security Card – it is issued by Social Security Administration in the US at the beginning of your employment. The number of that card is a personal identification number and it is similar to the Bulgarian EGN. The government uses it to identify you when processing your tax return. If you lost it, destroyed it or never received one while in the US, contact BG Island LLC office immediately.

Different types of taxes in the USA

It is normal if you have paid Federal and State taxes. Most of the time you will receive all of them back 100%. If you have made more money you will have to pay a bit to the US government. There are a few states that do not withhold state taxes – Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Texas, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Tennessee. If you have worked in any of those states you need only to file a Federal tax return. Some employers do not know the tax laws very well connected with your type of visa (J-1) and withhold incorrectly Social Security Tax and Medicare Tax or FICA. If you have kept all your paperwork and followed all rules the US tax service will refund all these taxes back to you.

How much time it would take to receive my taxes back?

Processing normally would take 3 to 4 weeks when you provide W2 form and 5 to 7 weeks with your last paycheck, for some states this period is longer. The standars form of receiving your taxes back is a check with your name on it. It is issued by the IRS (the US tax service) and arrives within 5 to 7 weeks. After receiving the check all you have to do is cashing it in your bank and have the pleasure to spend the money you received back

Cashing the check could be done in any bank in Bulgaria. Only DSK bank provides a low fee for this service – 7 EUR to cash the check and 5 EUR for depositing it in your bank account with them if you have one.

Using last paycheck to file taxes

This method requires W-2 Form from each employer you had in 2015

Using Last Paycheck / Pay stub - $64.00

Using last paycheck to file taxes

You need to provide last Pay stub from each of your employers

Each method includes preparation and submission for up to 3 employers.

Each method includes preparation and submission for 1 state only.

Tax Withholding and You: How to Get More Out of Your Paycheck

Using last paycheck to file taxes

As another tax season came to a close, it hit me how there’s a problematic culture in America regarding tax refunds. As an Enrolled Agent of almost a decade, I find it worrisome that people get into competitions among friends and co-workers over who got the biggest refund: it not only brings out the numerous shady services that claim to offer bigger refunds than their competitors (a reputable tax professional will only promise you that they’ll do whatever they legally can to minimize your tax liability, not claim they can get you a bigger refund than the person down the street) but it’s likely there’s money right in your paycheck that is better off in your pocket than sitting in the Treasury, interest-free.

The first thing to know about minimizing your tax liability is that there’s a strong chance your income tax withholding is unnecessarily high. Let’s examine the withholding process, and how the withholding amount is determined.

Withholding Tables & the Misconceptions About Allowances

Every year, the Treasury and state taxation departments draw up withholding tables based on filing statuses using numbers called allowances.

Your paycheck’s skeleton! Internal Revenue Service, Publication 15

These tables are indexed according to filing statuses (more on that later) and how often you get paid. Allowances are then chosen by you when you fill out on an IRS Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, and the state equivalent (such as New York’s IT-2104.) These forms must be filled out whenever you start a new job or would like to change your withholding at your current job.

Most of the time, the worksheets above and below this piece of the form are unnecessary. The principle is simpler than it looks.

Internal Revenue Service, Form W-4

Allowances are numbers tied to how much tax gets taken out of your paycheck. Allowances tend to be based on circumstances that lead to lower taxes such as having dependents, owning your home, or being a student, and the more allowances you claim, the less gets taken out in taxes. For instance, most unmarried people earning less than $40,000/year with relatively simple financial situations tend to withhold at Single – 0 or Single – 1 which leads to a larger withholding than necessary.

Check last year’s tax return and compare the amount on the line that says “Tax” (line 44 on Form 1040, line 28 on Form 1040A, and line 10 on Form 1040EZ) to how much you have withheld. If there is a huge disparity and you get most of the money back you don’t need as much taken out.

I’ve frequently heard on the job, “My cousin’s barber’s psychic told me I should just enter 0 on that form, that way you get a bigger refund!” Yes, but then you also get less money immediately available to use. Why have that money sit in the Treasury for almost a year, not earning you any interest or making you a bit more comfortable when bills arrive?

There is also a common misconception that you can’t claim more than one allowance on a W-4 if you don’t have any of the above situations, or that the number of allowances is based on your number of dependents, and both assumptions are untrue. However, it’s unlikely you will attract any taxing authority’s attention unless you enter an egregious number (which would be virtually any number greater than 10 for most incomes) of allowances on your withholding certificates.

Under-withholding is possible and does carry a penalty if the IRS and/or states determine you didn’t pay in enough during the year (which for most people means owing over $1,000 at tax time), but chances are that if your wages or salary are your only or primary source of income, and you typically get most of your withholdings back, you don’t need to have as much withheld to begin with.

Make Sure Your Filing Status is Correct!

Are you withholding taxes using the correct filing status, as well as filing your tax return with the correct status?

The basic filing statuses are single, married filing jointly (MFJ), married filing separately (MFS), and head of household. Single and MFS will have higher taxes withheld than MFJ. Head of household means that you are not married and have at least one qualifying dependent, who is either a qualifying child or a parent you support. If you configure your withholding based on head of household status then you will have less money withheld than single and MFS. Qualifying widow(er) is a rarer filing status for surviving spouses in which you have at least one qualifying child, and you will receive many of the same tax benefits as MFJ.

However, the reason why filing status is an important distinction to make is because I’ve frequently seen heads of household withholding as single, or even filing as such, and it’s not giving them the tax relief to which they are entitled such as a larger standard deduction than single. MFS filers also tend to file as single, and, when doing so, they risk incurring a penalty and erroneously receiving benefits to which they are not entitled such as claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit which single filers can claim, but MFS cannot. Many people also continue to have their taxes withheld using the single rates after they get married (or the other way around if they get divorced) then forget to change their withholding.

Making sure you’re using the correct filing status, and therefore the right withholding table, will eliminate headaches! My years of experience in tax practice have shown that clearing up confusion over filing statuses makes both withholding calculations and tax time easier.

How Do I Know How Many Allowances Are Right For Me?

Those worksheets on the withholding certificates are like hydras: slay one head, six more annoy you while the other one just grew back. Fear not, though: paycheck calculators will burn that beast’s heads!

First, how often do you get paid? Most people get paid weekly or biweekly. There are two separate tables for those frequencies so make you got the right one. Select your state; most states have an income tax, and don’t forget local withholding either, such as if you’re a New York City or Philadelphia resident.

Next, enter your gross pay per paycheck, not your take-home pay. Your paystubs should show the amount of your gross pay prior to FICA and income tax withholding.

For example, Tina Taxpayer earns a salary of $39,000. She’s a single NYC resident and doesn’t have any other income. She gets $1,500 gross pay every two weeks. Using the 2013 tax rates, and withholding at Single – 0 across the board, here is what her calculator looks like:

© Symmetry Software, Inc.

Since she doesn’t take any special deductions or have dependents, Ms. Taxpayer’s tax liabilities are $3,908 to the IRS, $1,695 to New York State, and $972 to NYC. Under 0 allowances, $5,128.76 was withheld by the IRS, $1,728.74 by the state, and $1,087.06 by the city resulting in a federal refund of $1,221 and state refund of $149.

Under 2 allowances, $3,903.64 is withheld to the IRS, $1,599.78 to the state, and $1,009.06 to the city, resulting in two minor tax liabilities: $4 to the IRS and $58 to New York. These are liabilities too small to incur underpayment penalties, and very close to breaking even. This also frees up an extra $110.16 a month for Ms. Taxpayer, or $1,321.92 for the whole year. If your total W-2 income is less than Ms. Taxpayer’s as well, chances are you can have less withheld for similar results.

Try playing around with allowances on both the federal and state/local levels to identify an amount with which you will be comfortable. In my professional opinion, it’s best to come close to breaking even at tax filing time. Whether the results are a small refund or negligible amount owed like in the example, it’s money best off available to you throughout the year. Check out which number of allowances work best for you and your individual tax situation and cash flow, and what you’d be comfortable having withheld or paid at tax time. The amount can vary depending on what kinds of deductions and credits you qualify for and if you have other income, but I hope this information helps struggling wage earners who don’t want to wait until tax time to get some relief!