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I recently got married and am updating my W4. I looked at my last pay stub to see what is currently being withheld in taxes and it's about $700 (local + state + federal). After I completed my W4 form, I ended up with a number of $565 for "additional withholding." If I submit this, does that mean I will have $700 + $565 (so $1265) withheld from my future paychecks? Or only $565? I guess I am confused by the term "additional." I just assumed I'd be withholding less now that I'm married, not more. Thanks!

  • Where are you seeing "additional withholding"? Also, is this the US? What did you change on the form? It's quite possible that you'd pay more tax after marriage, particularly if your spouse makes more than you. Half the married deduction is less than the old single deduction, especially if you use to file as head of household. In addition, you may have moved to a different tax bracket. – Brythan Jun 24 '17 at 3:40
  • Yes, it's additional. To know if that makes sense or not would depend on you and your spouses income levels. – Hart CO Jun 24 '17 at 15:05
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    It's still not clear what you mean by "ended up with a number of $565 for 'additional withholding.'" The W-4 instructions tell you how many allowances to claim, and allows you request an additional dollar amount but doing so would be at your own discretion. Could you clarify what instructions you were following to get an "additional withholding" amount? – user42405 Jul 24 '17 at 12:07
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Yes. Additional means "additional" as in "in addition to what is withheld based on the number of claimed allowances".

I recently adjusted my withholding, and used IRS Pub15 to figure out how my employer was figuring out how much to withhold. Then I figured out how many allowances to claim to get the amount I want withheld reached by last paycheck of 2017. We'll see how good my computations were next week when I get my next paycheck.

my recommendation, Nicole, is that you simply change your filing status and nothing else -- wait and see how your paycheck changes. THEN see what to do.

Remember that the US income tax system is progressive -- that is the tax rate progresses (goes up) as your income goes up. On the other hand, deductions reduce the amount of your income subject to tax.

Lets assume that both your and your spouse pay tax on 90,000, after deductions and all that other jazz. For 2017, 90,000 filing as single, your tax rate is 5226.25 plus 25% of (90,000-37,950) = 5226.25 + 18238.75. So together you and your sweetie would've payed 36,477.50. However, the brackets don't scale the same married filing jointly. Instead, 180,000 joint taxable income is taxed as 29752.50 plus 28% of (180,000 - 153,100), or 37,284.50. It seems, looking at the tax brackets I found at https://taxfoundation.org/2017-tax-brackets/, that as income rises, there are subtle differences in how the brackets are constructed between Single and "Married Filing Jointly".

In other words, don't count on your taxes going down.

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  • +1 for the third paragraph but the math in the fifth paragraph does not make sense. How does 5226.25+18238.75 paid separately by two people add up to 36,477.50 for "you and your sweetie"? – Dilip Sarwate Aug 23 '17 at 12:00

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