My first paycheck was $408.55 (35.17 hrs @ $10/hr + $56.85 tips) The federal government took:

  • $1.05 income tax
  • $25.33 Soc Sec
  • $5.92 Medicare

The income tax seems low to me. If I make between $9,226 to $37,450 the income tax supposed to be 15%, correct?

All told, the government took $32.30 of $408.55, which is only 7.9% of my gross.

This is my first job in 8 years. I stayed home and husband took care of taxes. I filed as single with no dependents but also head of household. Was that a mistake?

  • how often are you paid?: weekly, every two weeks... Feb 23, 2016 at 2:14
  • 1
    I'm confused by your last paragraph. Are you single or married currently? Do you have any dependents? When you said that you filed "head of household," did you mean that is what you filed as for your 2015 tax return that you sent this year?
    – Ben Miller
    Feb 23, 2016 at 5:30
  • Not correct. From your actual income, you get to subtract your personal exemption ($4000) and standard deduction ($6300 for single), then pay income tax on that amount. So if you continue to earn about $400 every two weeks (= $10,400 per year), you should actually owe income tax only on the extra $100, and might be eligible for an earned income credit. (You'll still pay SS & Medicare, though.)
    – jamesqf
    Feb 23, 2016 at 5:36

2 Answers 2


The tax withholding from your paycheck is not your actual tax, it is estimate that is based on what you reported to the employer on form W4.

You should go over the form and its worksheets and make sure you calculated the allowances correctly based on your expected income, and give it to the payroll person at the office (or whoever is handling W4, ask your manager if you don't know).

After the year ends you file a tax return which includes the calculation of the actual tax that you owe. If the withholding from your salary over the year doesn't cover it - you'll need to pay the missing amount when you file your annual tax return. If the withholding was too high - you'll get a refund. The goal, ideally, is to neither have a refund nor have to pay when you file your tax return.


I think the head of household status might be reducing your tax liability, I would double check that you qualify to file as head of household.

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