I'm thinking of work abroad in USA for a season. The job description says I'll get around 10$ per hour - I assume this is pre tax salary. As I'm not familiar with the US tax system nor do I know all those english (not even in my language) tax related vocabulary I need help in finding out how much of those 10$ per hour (~1.700$ per month (40h / week)) would be after tax?

In simple words: If I earn 1.700$ pre-tax per month, how much of this will be in my wallet? Is there a simple online calculator that people without having knowledge of (US) tax system and their special abbreviations can handle?

  • 2
    Also, $10/hour at 40 hour weeks, 52 weeks a year works out to an average of $1,733.33/month, not $2,400. Mar 15, 2017 at 9:33
  • OMG you are right, thank you for pointing this out!
    – j__
    Mar 15, 2017 at 11:42
  • Do you understand that you need a work visa for this? Also, any other income you globally have in the years that you work in the US will become taxable in the US.
    – Aganju
    Mar 15, 2017 at 12:28
  • Yes, I'm aware of this, thank you! I'm planning to work a whole season (as the job I'm looking for is seasonal only).
    – j__
    Mar 15, 2017 at 12:36
  • Sometimes seasonal jobs will include free or reduced cost housing or other in-kind benefits. Does this job?
    – mkennedy
    Mar 15, 2017 at 12:54

2 Answers 2


You may have state or local (county, city) income taxes depending on where you work. In addition, if you are working in the U.S. on a short-term visa, there may be special exemptions I am unaware of (not subject to social security and medicare tax?). Ignoring those for the moment, the federal tax liability for a U.S. resident with that income:

Here is the official Internal Revenue Service tax withholding estimate calculator.

With the simplest family situation (unmarried, no children), the first $10,350 of income is not subject to federal income tax in 2016; it will probably be slightly higher for 2017. If you worked for 3 months at $1,700 per month, you would be well under this limit, so would owe no federal income tax at the end of the year.

All wage earners pay 7.65% in social insurance taxes with no exemption, so you could expect to see about $130 per month withheld for this.

At the rate of $1,700 per month, you would earn $20,400 per year. After the $10,350 standard deduction and exemption, this would leave about $10,000 of taxable income subject to a 10% tax rate, for an annual tax liability of about $1,000. A typical employer will withhold tax using formulae which assume that an employee will earn an equal amount in every pay period, and so would withhold approximately $83 per month to cover this expected year-end tax based on a full year's employment. When you filed federal tax forms at the end of the year, you would get a refund of any amount overpaid, but it is money that would be missing from your wallet each month (or every week, every two weeks...) when you got paid.

When you start employment, you fill out a tax form (W-4) with information to help your employer adjust the tax withholding to more closely match your real end-of-year tax liability. According to the tax calculator linked above and with the estimated income you listed, if you specify 5 allowances on your W-4, no tax would be withheld. (Note that just because no tax is withheld and no tax is due at the end of the year does not necessarily mean that you are not obligated to file tax forms to document a net liability of $0.)

In addition, if you are offered housing or other non-cash benefits, those may need to be included in your tax estimation. If your employer provides housing valued at $1,300 per month, you may be taxed based on a monthly income of $3,000 even if only $1,700 of that is in cash.

  • There are some exemptions for the payroll tax for foreigners, mainly certain academic visitors and their family and H-2A agricultural workers. There are also complicated procedures under totalization agreements if you're a citizen of certain countries that could apply. Mar 15, 2017 at 19:17
  • @j__ proceed with caution. Depending on how much time you spend in the US, you are probably going to be treated as a nonresident alien, filing form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, in which case you're not going to be able to take the exemption. This will increase your tax burden.
    – phoog
    Mar 18, 2017 at 4:25

I always use this calculator.

There you can modify your calculations depending upon the state you work as it may have tax. I figured for Florida, which has no state tax.

You would take home about $675 if you are paid every two weeks (very common pay cycle). Each month you could count on $1350, and two months of the year you would receive an extra pay check.

Keep in mind that this does not include health insurance of any kind, and this is typically deducted from your paycheck. Typically you do not pay income tax on the health insurance.

Also keep in mind that this is a very low wage for many locales in the United States. People typically recommend devoting less than 25% of your income to housing. For you that would be $337/month. The going rate for room rental is at least $500/month in most cities.


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