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Recently I've been trying to adjust my W-4 so that I overpay the government less (get a smaller tax return). How can I calculate the number of my deductions based on my income and family status, charitable giving, etc to arrive at the minimal overpayment?

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    There's a worksheet on the form, can't you use it? – littleadv Mar 9 '13 at 0:13
  • @littleadv I haven't filled out the paper one in a long time, didn't remember that. – C. Ross Mar 9 '13 at 1:51
  • Ha! @C.Ross - the article I cited begins "You see a W-4 recently? Do you even remember what Form W-4 is? It’s possible that you filled out this form and gave it to your employer years, perhaps decades ago, and never gave it a second thought." I don't remember the last time I saw the form in the wild. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Mar 9 '13 at 5:52
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A W4 allowance is like saying "don't tax $3800 on me, bro." So, if you are in the 25% bracket, raising it by 1 will have you pay $950 less in a year. 15% bracket? The same extra allowance lowers tax withheld by $540.

An article I wrote goes into some depth on the process.

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