Personal Finance & Money Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who want to be financially literate. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A while back I was on a W2 job and I would get a large sum on my tax return. At one point I found a calculator that helped me figure out how to configure my W4 so that I would neither owe nor be owed when it came to filing income taxes each year. The result was less tax was taken from each paycheck.

I've been self employed for the last few years and I am considering an offer that would put me back on W2 and I've been looking for that withholding calculator again but I can't find it.

How do I determine the optimal number of allowances so that I neither owe, nor receive a refund at the end of the year? I do realize it will never be exactly 0.

share|improve this question
Have you tried the IRS Calculator or this one? – Dilip Sarwate Mar 2 '14 at 20:06

Publication 15 is your friend. (Although his close friends call him Circular E).

An on line calculator is fine, but 2013 tax software and this publication with let you nail it. And yes, you can zero out, since an IRA deposit (if you can deduct) will let you adjust your income after the fact, when you work on your 2014 tax return in March of '15.

share|improve this answer
Thanks. Looks like it's what I need, but it's all alien to me. – DustinDavis Mar 2 '14 at 1:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.