Is there a way to determine what my take home pay needs to be in order to start working for a company, whether it is hourly or salary?

I am located in NW WA state and have been self employed since arriving here in 2014. Taxes are really high here, in my opinion, because of that, it took this long to finally come up with a self employed hourly rate that can supply my family's needs.

I have already tried to do this, I will say, math is not my strong point, let alone trying to figure all the dynamics of how this new proposed situation works when things are taken care of in different fashion, like I no longer need to pay self employment taxes.

Long and short of it, I could only hope at best there would be some "formula" that gives the answer. I really think it will be a matter of finding the right contact or company that knows the right questions to ask that I can answer to come up with the information I need. This is the reason I have come to this forum, to get some direction where to start looking.

1 Answer 1


There isn't a universal formula here. Taxes vary from state to state and people have different expectations. You may need to check your assumptions as well; there's no state income tax in Washington. The taxes you're concerned about aren't necessarily related to employment vs. contract income.

In your position I'd google for "Washington state paycheck calculator" and play around with the numbers. The calculator should take into account income and employment taxes and your marital situation. Figure out what you need salary-wise to give you the take home pay to support your desires.

Depending on the employer, you might also have some fringe benefits including paid health care and retirement contributions. Those benefits that may reduce some of the costs you're paying today and make a lower take home pay more acceptable.

Good luck!

  • As a mention, since I am self employed WA state has me pay an "excise tax" to the state every month. It approximates paying about 10% of my income. I will look into the calculator you linked to. It looks like it may help.
    – Jack
    Jan 16, 2022 at 20:26

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